The length is the biggest difference! In a novel, the author is able to give you an in depth look at what the characters are like and how they feel and how they affect others in the story. The setting and the plot are much more explicit. There is much more detail in a novel that there is a short story. A short story is just a glimpse. In "Exploring the Titanic," a non-fiction short story by Robert Ballard, the action is selective. We are only introduced to some of the characters and detail of the story, as to compared to the myriad of novels that have been printed about the tragedy.