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How many murders is too many in a novel?

I think this is a key question for novelists and is really down to 3 things;

  • Depends on your genre; chic lit is unlikely to have any!

  • Depends on your readership; thrillers can range from the tame (single death) through to complete carnage (Game of Thrones) and your readers will give you a certain amount of artistic licence as long as you don't overstep their boundaries

  • Depends on the complexity of your plot; you will need a fairly large cast of characters if you are going to keep bumping them off in the name of your storyline.