Million. I figures out how to cut a couple hundred words out of "One Cool Million." I thought.

Turns out, what with I've learned since I sent the thing out the first time (December 2001), I was able to cut...uh, 2500 words. Rereading it, I finally admitted to myself that it wasn't as baaaad as I thought it was, not great, not even impressive for what I knew at the time, but not as baaad as I always knew it was.

Now, uh, it's, well, shorter.

What the hell did I cut?

a) Adjectives and adjectival phrases of all sorts.
b) Setups. (I started in the middle of the situation in scenes instead of bothering to explain how everyone got there, if unnecessary).
c) Cut 2 sections of character sketches about a side character (the cuts I originally planned).
d) Cutesies. (Not all of them, for those squirrel afficianados out there; just the ones nonessential to the plot).
e) Cut internal dialogue. Not all of it, just the stuff that was there for Creation Purposes Only, but was redundant now.

What else? I took one of the characters from offstage to the set in the last scene, to make things a little more in-your-face. Other minor changes. And you know what? I think the best thing about this story is the main character. She comes across as being more fully human than I'd realized. And a lot of episodes that I put in there for plot purposes actually contribute something to the ending, as far as character goes (there's a scene where she acknowledges that a teacher of hers in grade school made her feel so stupid that she eventually flunked out...an oversimplification, but one that she believes in--anyway, this scene helps anchor the climactic scene, in which her father rips her to shreds in front of her fiancee).

But the essential information here to note is: those 2500 words were pure excess. Roughly 1/3 of what I wrote. Wow.