So, my current WIP is a satire called "The Suburbs" about a suburban community responding to the death of their local postman, who is eaten by a jaguar. It follows three families, each of whom embody a different aspect of the community, and there are approximately seven intertwining story arcs... Which seems like kind of a lot! I read somewhere that in multiple-perspective novels it's better to limit the bulk of the action to five or six characters, so I'm wondering if this is going to be a problem. But at the same time, I've definitely read multiple-perspective novels that use more characters and pull it off (off the top of my head, Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and a book I read in middle school called Seed Folks).

There are eleven characters in my story, and four narrative arcs that I would consider significant. The others serve more as texture, but still get their share of the spotlight. It's probably going to be a pretty short novel, no more than 50-60k, and I don't want their chapters to detract from the central story -- but I also think they're pretty funny and don't want to lose them. Do you think this can still work -- having characters without fully realized narrative arcs, but who are given attention to add more "depth" to the image of this community as a whole? Right now, I've got some chapters devoted to a teenage girl who is obsessed with identifying as an oppressed minority on the internet (she is "transable", "transethnic", and "otherkin"), and an ordinary businessman who steals a pack of gum and becomes paranoid and fixated with his transgression. They don't do much, and I don't think they need any obvious closure at the end, but I like having them in the background, utterly preoccupied with their ridiculous problems while a postman-eating jaguar is on the loose.

So whaddaya think? More generally, what do you find to be effective in multiple-perspective novels? If you've written one, how did you approach it?