Final count: 119,909 words. I just barely squeaked in there. I cut out all the scenes with the "villain" prior to the final confrontation, and I did a lot of rearranging in the middle and beginning to make it less preachy and more condensed (i.e., getting to the story faster). I'm glad I did the hardcore revision instead of the softcore - I don't think I would have made 120,000 words unless I did.
I started on Aug 06, and finished Oct. 20 - two two and a half months. Last time it took three months and I reduced the story by about 13%. I did the same thing here, so the time duration makes sense. I figure if I can make the next book around 90,000 words, I can write more in less time.
This doesn't mean I'm completely done. I still have to A) spell check B) check formatting C) look for words to eliminate D) possibly make a manuscript version (I hope I don't have to print that!). But after that, I can start sending it out. I wonder if I'll get feedback on my query letter by then. If I don't I might only send to a few agents at a time until then. I don't want to get axed because I had a crappy query letter. And I still have yet to compile a list of agents to send to.
But now I feel free (at least once I'm done monkeying with the mechanics). Before it felt like BHS was handcuffed to my wrist like a briefcase. Not that I minded it, it was my story. I chose to tether myself to it. But now I'm about ready to unlock the cuffs, and let it float free into the aether. So I can then handcuff myself to a fresh and new book.
It also means I can watch Scanners now (I was avoiding it because I didn't want to accidentally copy ideas/find out that I'd totally plagiarized it).