I've been playing with the idea of writing a story from the point of view of an entire town for quite a while. I want to have one central character who is well-known and the basis of the story, but the story will never actually be from the point of view of that character. I want to have most of the story revolve around the town's speculation of and reaction to this character and also have side-plots for the other characters. (I realize after having read the first thirty pages of The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling that it is very similar, but I came up with this idea long before I read it. It's different enough, I think.) Anyway, my main question is: how many characters is too many? I want to have enough characters to create complicated, overlapping story lines as well as to emphasize the fact that I'm writing about the whole town and not just a select few, but I don't want to confuse the reader.