Ep 4, Sc 3: The House


“Are you sure you don’t want to come?” asked Holly, as she stood in front of the mirror, putting on her earrings.

“I’m sorry,” said Amy, who was watching from a seat on her bed. “But I really really don’t. My head feels stuffed with cotton and I keep having coughing fits. I’m making some feel good tea and going to bed with a good book. Sorry,” she added, “I know I told you I’d go.”

“No, of course not. You’re sick. You should sleep.” Holly pulled back from the mirror and turned to Amy. “Well, what do you think?”

Amy surveyed her friend’s green drop neck sweater and black jeans, paired with green earrings and necklace and she nodded in approval.

“Alan said it was going to be a casual party,” said Holly a little doubtfully, glancing down at her clothes.

“You look beautiful. Classy casual.”

“I just keep remembering going into The Goudge and everyone was so much nicer dressed then I was. I felt completely out of place,” said Holly, turning back to the mirror to examine herself. “I don’t want to be out of place tonight. And I want…I just hope I don’t spend the whole party in a corner by myself.”

“Evelyn Martin will be there, won’t she?” asked Amy. “You’ve said she’s been very friendly to you the last couple days. You can talk to her.”

Holly shrugged. “I don’t want to push myself on her…the thing is, with people like her or Alan, I become kind of nervous about why they think I’m talking to them. I mean if I go up and start a conversation will they think it’s because I honestly want to get to know them or because they think I’m just interested in knowing them because they’re famous?”

“Holly I’m sure they don’t think that,” said Amy.

“It’s just difficult,” said Holly. “I don’t always know how to behave around them.” She shook her head. “I feel like it’s complicated.”

Amy smiled. “Once you get to the party, I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

“Right. Well,” Holly grabbed her car keys and purse off a side table and gave Amy a hug. “I’m off. I’ve got his address and a map of the area. I guess I’m off to Beverly Hills!” She grinned and headed for the elevator.



Holly had to pull over a couple of times to check the map as she navigated through Beverly Hills. It was getting dark and most of the houses were surrounded by tall thick walls or obscured with trees, but the few she caught glimpses of as she drove past, where large, and in the dusk, somewhat imposing. Glancing at the map, she turned left and checking the numbers on walls, pulled into the second driveway on the right. The gate was opened and beyond Holly could see a gravel driveway that was currently packed with cars.

A security guard emerged from a small gate house and approached her car. She rolled down the window and leaning out asked,

“Is this Alan Ryder’s house?”

“Name?” asked the guard.

“Alan Ryder?” Holly repeated.

The guard gave a cough that sounded suspiciously like it was trying to hide a chuckle and he clarified, “I meant your name.”

“Oh. Yes of course. I’m sorry. Holly Woods. I was invited to a party at Alan Ryder’s house? Which I think this is…” You probably didn’t have to add that last bit, she chided herself, I think at this point if it wasn’t he’d have told you. Stop being so nervous about this. It’s going to be fine…

The guard had been consulting a clipboard. He now checked something off and then nodded towards the driveway. “Just park in there.”

“Thank you.” She drove in and parked behind a convertible that looked like it had cost more than her family’s house, car and annual vacation put together, and got out. As she surveyed the view around her she felt keenly aware that she was wearing a twenty dollar top and driving a used car she was still paying off.

For the second time in a week, she felt like an imposter with no business standing where she was.

The lawn itself was hard to make out entirely in the darkening evening, but she could see grass and long rows of flower bushes that followed all around the wall. The wall was oval shaped, lacking sharp corners and had been painted a pretty peach color, which combated any possible austerity it might otherwise have bestowed. And the house…well, the house was just lovely. The gravel driveway led up to a set of lightwood colored front steps and two double glass doors. The whole front of the house’s downstairs wall was made of a combination of glass and light wood. And it was large downstairs, offhand she’d guess about fifty meters long. The upstairs was more private. More light wood and the only glass were a few large bay windows but they appeared tinted. The roof, from where Holly was standing, appeared flat, with a railing all around it. She guessed it might be used as a terrace.

This house was a mansion. Holly felt the impact of the word strongly as she surveyed the prospect of entering and contemplated the fact that this was where Alan lived. The thought that someone she knew, someone she worked with, called this home- no, home was the wrong word. This wasn’t a home. A home was something small in a suburb or quiet town with a white picket fence. This was awe-inspiring and huge. But he lived here. He slept, ate and relaxed in this house, every day. And she went home at night to a studio apartment which she shared with a receptionist baker. It wasn’t that she envied him. She loved her receptionist baker and the smell of cookies and brownies that tended to greet her when she came home. But she did feel intimidated. This wasn’t her world. Alan wasn’t her world. And how could she seriously contemplate ever being on equal footing in a world like that?

She shook her head and took a deep breath.

She could see the party through the glass walls. She saw some waiters going round with trays and could hear music thudding from one side of the house. The rooms appeared packed with guests and she didn’t recognize one of them. At least, she thought to herself, she was dressed appropriately, even if most of those people probably hadn’t bought their clothes at Sears.

She locked the car and squaring her shoulders, walked towards the house.

This entry was posted in Episode Four, Holly Woods, Season One and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Ep 4, Sc 3: The House

  1. Keith says:

    more than her family’ house,

    probably should be

    more than her family’s house,

    I’m enjoying the story so far. Your updates are short which is kind of frustrating, but I assume that this is a manageable writing chunk for you. Anyway, it keeps me coming back for more and shorter frequent updates are better than longer less frequent ones.

    I do not have writing temperament for a web serial.

    • Holly(Woods) says:

      Thanks for pointing out that typo. If that was the only one in this chapter then I’m hopeful that my proofreading is improving with the reading out loud and reading backwards.

      Hmm, as for length, thanks for telling me your thoughts on that. Maybe the updates need to be longer (but of course still keeping the same updating schedule, I know it’s important to stick to that). Each update so far has been about 1,000 words. That is an amount I find manageable to write, but I could probably do longer. It’s also based on personal preference as when I’m the reader, I enjoy updates that length. But maybe I should lengthen the updates a bit. Start slowly to make each a bit longer then the next till they get to a better length. Hmm…will have to consider.

      • Keith says:

        You should ignore my personal preferences; I am only one reader, You should write what is comfortable for you There is no “better length.”. If you wanted to write more, I would not object, but you also have to edit, grammar check, etc. which takes time and effort.

        I am an odd duck (in so many ways, but let’s not go there) because I read very quickly with high comprehension and retention. So, for example, a Harry Potter book takes me two days to finish, in the evenings, after work. Even when I am writing, I read a lot. A thousand words or two thousand or three is not much for me to read, although it is a tremendous amount more to write.

        I am thinking aloud here, trying to figure out what I want more of. I also read Tales of MU http://www.talesofmu.com/story/ (where I found your story advertised) and http://clarekrmiller.digitalnovelists.com/node When you read your chapters (as a reader, not a writer) do you feel emotionally satisfied at the end or do the chapters just stop at a convenient break point? One reason I don’t do a web serial (other than my lack of consistency) is that I can not write good chapter conclusions without much editing and my chapters span at least several days of writing. Actually, I’m quite horrible at breaking my work into chapters. Anyway, I’m done thinking out loud. Feel free to ignore my random musings.

      • Holly(Woods) says:

        Thanks very much for giving me your random musings. It’s very helpful to me and I appreciate you giving me your thoughts. I do think as a rule a lot of serial novel posts tend to be longer. I’m not sure. I admit, I’m pretty new to the genre as a whole. Worm (a very successful one) I believe tends to be updated twice a week with each entry tending to be around 4,000 words. Honestly I don’t think I could manage that with writing and editing. Not yet at any rate. 1,000 words in one day is something I can rely and count on. I always have confidence that I can meet that. I can go longer, as a five year participant of NaNoWriMo (Nation Novel Writing Month) I have gone longer with the longest I’ve done being 10,000 words in one day, but then word output and actually good word out put can be two very different things. And believe me, the day I wrote 10,000 words none of them were good (but then good isn’t the point of NaNoWriMo).

        I’m a pretty slow reader. For instance while I do know people who, like you, could read Harry Potter in a handful of days, it would probably takes me a couple of weeks (at least for any of them after book three), which probably effects length of entries and what feels like a suitable length for the chapters.

        I’m trying to consider your question about how emotionally satisfied I feel after reading my chapters, it’s a bit difficult to separate my reader and writer side when considering that though. I do try to include something significant in each post….advance the plot, introduce a character I know will feature in the story long term or try and show more of Holly, or someone else’s, character and what they’re like. I can definitely think of one point where I cut a scene in two that should have been one chapter (Chapters 8 and 9), thinking back, that was probably a mistake. And then sometimes some point will come up that just feels like a natural place to end the chapter…Honestly though I don’t tend to think of it so much in terms of chapters and maybe that a problem. I think of them more as just parts of the story…maybe I should change the way I think about them a bit.

        Anyways. Those were my random musings and probably didn’t end up saying very much.

        But I do really appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me. It’s helpful to hear what people think.

  2. Keith says:

    I was going to write about managing expectations. Perhaps if you did not label your posts as if they were chapters, then I (and other readers) would not expect them to be chapters. I just assumed they were chapters from the way they are titled and labeled.

    Instead, I think they are scenes or beats. Which you probably already know about, but I will link to this explanation anyway. http://writers.stackexchange.com/questions/3925/what-is-a-beat

    So, you may want to consider labeling your posts in a different way and have each post (not post title) start with a location. Since this is a story about the TV/Film industry you may want to write the locations in script style.
    For example: Episode 1: Arrival (page 16)

    Episode 1: Arrival (page 18)

    Sorry if I mistitled Episode 1, but I can’t remember if you gave it title or not. Anyway, it makes more sense to me that each of your posts is a page in the story/episode.

    Okay. I’m going to shut up now and work on my own damn story. I’m impressed with anyone who does NaNoWriMo. 10,000 words in one day, no matter how crappy, is something to be proud of. My best writing days are 2,000 words and a normal writing day is 750-1000 which is no where near NaNoWriMo pace. I also have many non-writing days.

    • Keith says:

      This is a stupid suggestion which you should ignore, but it amuses me. Since shooting scripts have different color pages for each revision (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_script) , you could change the page background color for each set of edits you make.

      If you tagged each page with a revision number, then wrote CSS to change the page background based on the revision number, that would work. Now which WordPress files would need to be changed? No. Bad Keith. Bad.

      • Holly(Woods) says:

        Can I just say I’m kind of in love with these ideas? They’re awesome! I love the idea of starting each post with a location…maybe divide the posts (scenes) into groups, so several posts would make up an ‘episode’…I’d actually considered something like that but somehow never really figured out a way that really grabbed me, but somehow the idea of starting each scene with a location like that really brings the episode idea together…I really like it. Also it really brings things together nicely just due to the way I think about the posts. For instance, at the end of each post I tend to sort of treat it the same way I would a fade out in a script. That’s my natural break. Does this feel like a point, if this were a TV show, that we’d get a commercial break ;-). So that’s definitely the mentality I already have when approaching the scenes and I think doing the scene locations would be a great way emphasize that, and as you say set expectations right about the length of the updates.

        I’m completely sold! I really like it and think it would work great for the story. I’ll mull it over a bit more over the weekend and then, with your permission to implement your idea, probably go over the old posts next week to add that (and do some retro-proofreading ;-)).

        I also enjoy the idea of the different colors per edit, tapping into the script-based idea. Very neat and clever. Not sure how I would make it work though, since CSS is not something I know anything about. It’s a cool idea though and something I’m going to have to ponder.

        Thanks for the awesome suggestions! I really appreciate it! And they’re great ideas!

      • Keith says:

        This is YOUR story. You do not need my permission to implement any new ideas. Any comments made by readers are yours to ignore, include, or modify as you see fit. We readers make comments in the hope that the author will pay attention/respond. How you do that is up to you.

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