I'm now on my fifth editing pass to reduce the wordcount of the book by the maximum possible.  It's very much an exercise in the law of diminishing returns, but each pass does yield a reduction, however small.  I'm currently sat at about 81,800 words and I think realistically I'll get to maybe 79,000 words by the time I'm finished.

This time, things are improved by the very able assistance of my god-daughter Natalie, who's just completed the first year of an English Literature degree (with flying colours) and wants to work in publishing.  Natalie has offered to perform an edit with a view to suggesting how I can reduce word count which is excellent experience for her and a valuable service for me as nothing is more useful than another pair of eyes.  After the number of edits I've done, I often can't see the wood for the trees and she's already made some very useful suggestions.

Once I get to the end of this edit, I'm going to resubmit the book to the literary agent who expressed an interest in the book and was the person suggested that the word count needed to be reduced.  I think the work so far has made the story tighter and pacier, so I hope he likes what I've done with it when I send it back. 

Hopefully I'll get this next edit done in the following 2-3 weeks and then I'll send it off and we'll see if all this work has been worthwhile.