Knock on Wood

Book Cover


1960s & '70s,20th Century (multiple decades)

Leslie Tall Manning

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Submision Type



A brain-damaged man, followed by the spirit of the boy he used to be, falls into a sinister world after he wins the lottery. If only he could remember the past in order to save his future.



Short Summary

Fourteen-year-old Billy Baker is the first into the pond that early summer day. Ten minutes later, his lifeless body is pulled from the chilly water, his lips like two slivers of blue ice. Billy dies...but only for a little while. Thirty-nine days later he emerges from a coma. But he is not alone.


The American South

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth,Voyage and Return

Plot - Other Elements

Meaningful Message,Happy Ending

Mature Audience Themes

Nudity, Language/Profanity

Main Character Details

Name: Billy (William) Baker

Age: 14 and 30

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Complex,Underdog,Obedient,Strong Moral Code,Clumsy,Faithful

Additional Character Details

Name: Donald Baker

Age: 16 and 32

Gender: Male

Role: Antagonist

Key Traits: Aggressive,Crazy,Criminal,Desperate,Greedy,Insecure,Villainous,Manipulative,Unapologetic

Additional Character Details

Name: Manny

Age: 25-30

Gender: Male

Role: mentor

Key Traits: Complex,Confident,Decisive,Engaging,Masculine,Skillful

Additional Character Details

Name: Cecilia

Age: mid 20s

Gender: Female

Role: tempter

Key Traits: Charming,Engaging,Aspiring,Sexy,Uneducated,Outspoken,Funny,Seductive,Sarcastic

About The Author

Leslie Tall Manning is an award-winning novelist who writes about adults and teenagers craving independence and often stumbling into it headfirst. She especially loves digging into universal themes such as friendship, bravery, and self-forgiveness. She is proudly represented by Uwe Stender at the TriadaUS Literary Agency.

Target Audiences

Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: Leslie Tall Manning

Year Published: 2019

Hard Copy Available







Billy (14), challenged by his older brother, Donald (16), decides to compete with him for the longest time underwater without breathing, but Billy ends up drowning. At 30 years old, living with a brain injury caused by the accident, the now-adult William deals with his communication difficulties and with a past he can’t remember. Many will stand by him, trying to see him well and happy, but others will try to take advantage of him, especially after he wins a million dollars on a TV show.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: GOOD

Characterization: GOOD

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: FAIR

Pace: GOOD

Premise: GOOD

Structure: FAIR

Theme: GOOD

Accuracy of Book Profile

It is accurate.

Draw of Story

The narrative does not take long to take off, already introducing a dramatic incident in the first pages. The way the author describes the situations and scenes is quite attractive from the beginning.

Possible Drawbacks

The plot involving Donald sounds a bit repetitive because his character never seems to learn anything. He’s mean and doesn’t like Billy at 16 and continues the same way at 32. It sounds a little unnatural for a human being not to have changed his nature in any way after so many years, even more so after seeing his younger brother in that situation.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is to follow the story of this man who loses his memory in a childhood accident and starts to live his life with a new personality, closely followed by the shadow of who he used to be but doesn’t remember. The “physical” presence of little Billy accompanying William on his journey in hopes of seeing him somehow return to the way he was initially is quite poetic.

Fanbase Potential

Yes, because it has a great dramatic importance that makes us sympathize with William’s experience and accompany him on his journey. At the same time, William’s drama is involved in a series of situations that make the story move forward and bring extra suspense to the narrative, thus having the potential to attract a larger audience.

Awards Potential

Yes, the story is told in a poetic and intense way and tells an engaging drama capable of moving and entertaining the audience, carrying great potential for awards.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

Little Billy’s constant presence alongside adult William as a way to make him reconnect with his childhood and who he used to be is original and quite touching.

Lead Characters

William/Billy is absolutely delightful to follow. His juvenile version possesses the vibrancy, persistence, and hope to get what he wants, while the adult version works to find his place in the world as he struggles with amnesia and an injured rain. On the other hand, Donald seems like a character built to be evil, which sounds slightly fake. As much as he is the antagonist, it would be interesting to see some sort of change over the course of his life.

Uniqueness of Story

It can be considered a rare gem slightly for the narrative content and the dramatic weight given to the narrative. Seeing little Billy accompanying William as a shadow from the past who never quite manages to communicate directly with his adult self is poetic and touching. Adult William’s desire to have an ordinary life like everybody else also makes the narrative exciting and the character likable. The author’s choice to let the story be told by all the characters, except for William, is intriguing and exciting because this way, we get to know the intimate of each character that surrounds William, including his juvenile version, Billy.

Possible Formats

Film: Indie, Streaming TV Series: Limited Run / Mini-Series

Analyst Recommendation



It is a touching, poetic, intense, and dramatic story that efficiently tells us the trajectory of a boy who was violently transformed into an adult with no memories and no considered prospects initially. Seeing William want to leave his mother’s wing to live his own experiences, despite having a series of difficulties due to a brain injury, is beautiful and touching. You can’t help but feel next to this character who seems innocent and inexperienced and tries to have a life like anyone else. Billy’s company, functioning almost like a guardian angel but in a much more exciting and efficient way, brings up a faint image of who William once was and can’t remember. The constant presence of childhood works almost like a metaphor for the fact that we all kind of forget who we were in adolescence as we become adults and gain new fears, responsibilities, and personalities. Having multiple points of view telling William’s story introduces a more significant challenge to the adaptation but at the same time elevates the narrative language of the story. Having a protagonist that we observe from the point of view of those around him is an efficient way of telling the story of a man who does not remember his past and has certain limitations in the perception of reality and communication. Billy and William’s detachment, after a series of traumatic events, also serves as a metaphor for disconnecting from childhood, where we are thrown into the world and forced to grow up with our own new experiences. In the scenes that follow this detachment, William seems more prepared and grown-up. However, a detail that bothers us is the fact that William’s brother, Donald, goes through the entire course of the story having the same villainous personality. As much as he works as an antagonist, he could have greater complexity and present himself in several layers, just like the other characters.