Although "novel" is today the name popularly given to any long work of fiction, it's often useful to use the word more precisely. It's perhaps easier to begin with what a novel is not. An epic poem is not a novel??? In the early eighteenth century. Important early developers of the novel include Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, and Henry Fielding.

From the Guide to Literary Terms by Jack Lynch.
Please send comments to Jack Lynch.
Note: This guide is still in the early stages of development.
Three question marks mean I have to write more on the subject. Bear with me.