Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Family Adoring the Aten.
A New Light In Ancient Egypt – By Lynn Holden
Comments By John Fraim (5/12/17)
Lynn continually tells us to read the last 50 pages of the story. “Then you will understand,” he writes to us from his home on the island of Somoa. Lynn has degrees from Yale and A friend of a good friend of mine introduces him to me with a piece of writing about ancient Egypt called A New Light in Ancient Egypt.
The question for Lynn is, why isn’t the story about these last 50 pages with it beginning where Chapter 42 starts and goes to Chapter 50. Can most of the other materials in chapters up to 42 be considered as a set-up to a situation. Perhaps the entire story cannot be broken down into a dramatic story because it is too vast and sprawling that any story that attempts to cover all of this at one time has to be thin on emotional aspects of characters. My feeling is that all stories are often not what they appear. Lynn writes a 50 Chapter story that takes place in ancient Egypt at perhaps its most glorious time. But much of the opening chapters in the story speak of the coming festivals and building of the new temple. There is a hint of the growth of a new religion that begins to take religion, and Egypt’s gods to a monotheism based around the god of the sun. The beginning of the great sun worshipping cult in Ancient is seen first-hand going about its business as new kings and queens come and go.
The story is narrated by a young boy who is born into a privileged family and whose father is one of the king’s key counselors. The boy gives us his story during these opening chapters. But things come so easy for him. It is difficult he has any traditional need of most characters starting out in screenplays. Life seems to simply be presenting itself before him like he is a special “tourist” to these times. Able to go to places and see parts of the way the kingdom worked more than any other young men of his time. Somewhat of an ancient Huck Finn. This to me is part of his/her real symbolism. He learns much from what he observes and hears from some wise old priest teachers. As well as a father who is always concerned that his son will become great someday. The sun cult moves more and more over Egypt until it is the main religion. The young man sees the growth of this new religion but he does not know how to express it’s effect in that forbidden area, inside a man’s head for advice and not asking for advice from the god without. Looking to a god within. Certainly heresy of the time.
An Ancient Symbol of the New Sun God Aten
The last part edited by Eric – chapters 42 -50 – and have yet been read by me. I’m going through another read of the chapters I’ve edited with more of a critical eye and making notes on characters and scenes and dramatic moments. Trying to make sense of Lynn’s 75,ooo words from a story angle. The story angle already buried in these 75,000 words somewhere. How many great stories had Hollywood missed making by thinking the story was that presented by the novelist. Or even the screenwriter.
The narrator of our story seems reliable but also from a position of privilege. It is hard to have real feeling for him/her character of the narrator (in this case a person named Hapy) if the reader compares the character’s life to their own. The reader is hearing from the privileged position of someone in this ancient society. Yet, why might not this position be so much of a better one to view and attempt to understand all the magical and amazing things taking place in the world at this time. So much more he could see from his privileged position in society but so many questions and conflicts in the world he knew and felt secure within. The new feelings of the upcoming worship of the Sun god in Egypt was one of the most important shifts in religious perspective by an entire culture in history.
* * *
Am now going through a read of the whole thing again after my quick editing of it’s first 41 chapters. I might break it something like the below in dramatic structure. (Meant to be spaced nicely apart if I had the Custom WordPress application. So you have to use your imagination. Think, nice chart below).
ACT I Act II Act III
_____________ __________________________________ ____________
Chapters 1 – 42 Chapters 42 – ____ Chapters _____ Chapters ____ to 50.
The times he lived/ His story truly starts. Builds. Climax. /The future and the new Egyptian man.
Background context is a new, emerging Egyptian man (woman) at the beginning of the worship of the one god, the sun god. At one of the most incredible times in the history of Egypt.
Hope this helps illustrate my argument on focusing on one part of the book for the most dramatic effect, the most story. Right now, it covers too much time. Condense to the story we have in the final 50 pages and apply screenwriting, dramatic, symbolism, media approach to these final 50 (Chapter 42 – 50 and the end). I this advice comes from someone who has yet to read the chapters 42 to 50 that Eric edited.
There are a number of problems I am seeing on my read over the story after the editing. I will probably stop at 42 or go on without looking at what my co-editor has written. This seems like the best way to proceed. Perhaps we might come up with the “best of two worlds” by the combination of input from the editors. All I know is that my fried Eric and I have just edited 50 chapters of Eric’s friend Lynn’s manuscript on ancient Egypt. Lynn’s knowledge of the daily life of ancient Egypt is astounding. More than anyone I can imagine expect perhaps Barbara Tuchman’s Distant Mirror, the standard for this type of inquiry it seemed to me. No one had really done a Distant Mirror for ancient Egypt. This is somewhat it seems it occurred like this to Lynn.
The narration in the chapters I edited, 1 – 41, needs to be clarified. It wanders all over the place from first person to third person. Yes, some first person Virginia Wolfe of ancient Egypt type of literary voice might inform us. But the narrative voice wanders all over the place. It needs to be solidly encased in the son (or daughter) of a wealthy advisor to the King at the time. (It might very well be the daughter of a wealthy family telling us the story. Which has the greatest drama to it?)
The first part of the book, chapters one to forty-one have prepared a type of hero with a need and purpose. And a grand villain for him. He needs to battle this villain in the final chapters of the book.
I am holding off reading Eric’s version of the final ten chapters of the book as know I’ll be influenced and besides I can whiz through editing 8 chapters these days.
Much of the first part of the book needs to be carried over into the 42-50 chapters of the book. There is simply too many festivals and objects for reader to comprehend. Focus on a few objects. The young boy sees a sacred object that sets him on a search when other. The coming of the Aten religion has to be a huge psychic event for the culture and we need to see this reflected through the young man’s own eyes. It cannot switch between first and third person. Certainly, interesting to me are topics like narrative perspective and the real story taken from someone else’s real story. The real story told in screenplay form.
Anyway, hope the structure part comes through.
Sometimes, the most important aspect of pulling a “story” out of something, like extracting some valuable mineral from the earth, is not analyzing all of its words for one story. But rather, a certain part of these words, cut off from the others, as the real story. Of course hidden in all the extraneous bullshit of the storyteller gives him or herself to believe in.
Those interested in seeing our early edits of the A New Light in Ancient Egypt manuscript, simply drop us a request at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you on a list to receive a PDF of the edited manuscript. When the author’s permission is secured. In the meanwhile, please email us and we will include you on our list.
Contact me at johnfraim at mac dot com.