I just got back my comments from Janet Reid from Fine Print Literary Management. She missed the Alaska Writer's Guild Conference (cursed airlines!), but was still able to read the first fifteen pages of my WIP and offer some very valuable feedback.
I sent her a draft that is far from perfect (and crossed my fingers that she would be kind enough to reply before using the paper to line a birdcage) with the hope that she would be able to give me some direction about the starting point of the story.
She told me what I knew- that the story is bogged down and doesn't start until about page 15. But she also told me that there are too many extra words.
And you know what? She's right.
I'm pretty impressed because she took the time to edit the first few pages, deleting a TON of stuff. And her revised copy reads so much better, getting you to the meat of the story a whole heck of a lot quicker.
So I know I have yet another edit in front of me- one to seek and destroy all extra words. And that should help me pare down my word count too. It started at 118,000 (according to Word, not the 250 words per page calculation) and needs to fall somewhere between 80,000-100,000. I've got it down to 111,000 so I've got a way to go!