A little introduction. I wrote this back in about … 2004 I think. The formatting shown below is how you should set out a picture book manuscript if you wish to have it taken seriously by a publisher. Some people will tell you not to write anything about the art but they are wrong wrong wrong and should be taken outside and beaten with a dictionary. A picture book isn’t just about the words so why not mention the illustrations? The cleverness of the illustrations matched with the text is what makes a picture book so very brilliant.
Remember that you start your book with page 1 which is a right-hand side page (known as recto). You turn the page and pages 2 and 3 form a double-page spread. This means the pages face each other and you can stretch an illustration across both of them if you wish. A left-hand side page is called verso.
Anyways, please find the complete manuscript to Noises Next Door below. Any comments or questions, send me a message via the about me page. The illustration was done by my friend, the very talented Katrina Hill. Hire her!
Noises from Next Door
Art: Half title
Noises from Next Door
Written by Mathew Ferguson
Art: Small image of an open moving box. Yellow tape is hanging off the top of box.
Someone moved into the house next door over the weekend.
Art: show house, show two kids, a boy and girl, looking over at it. The girl is pointing at the house.
We haven’t met them yet … and now there are weird noises coming from their house.
Art: Two kids peaking over fence at scary looking house. The kids are now closer to the house.
There’s BANGING and CLUNKING.
Art: the kids are standing there looking like the ground is shaking. Their outlines have gone a bit fuzzy.
There’s CRASHING and SMASHING!
Art: this image is a bit more zoomed in than the previous page. The crashing and smashing effect has spread out a little from the kids – now the letterbox looks a little blurred. The flowers are bending away from the noise.
Maybe it’s Monkeys …
Art: show ordinary monkeys sitting there, looking bored. Show boy looking at girl –
excited look on his face.
Art: show monkeys dressed in ninja gear doing a lot of tricky ninja stuff – nothing dangerous though! Some are practising camouflage techniques, dressed as trees, and letterboxes. Others are doing backflips.
It’s a family of beautiful ballerinas …
Art: Girl looking at boy, dreamy look on her face. Show pic of beautiful ballerinas in various poses.
Who are secret agents!
Art: Ballerinas – then same ballerina’s with James Bond gear. They look happy and smiling in first pic – then crafty and devious in second. We see grappling hooks, a laser pen, ballerinas wearing earplugs like special agents. They are looking directly at the reader, as though posing.
Maybe … maybe they’re secret agent monkey ballerinas!
Art: show monkeys dressed in ballerina costume doing crafty James Bond stuff. Mimic previous images … but use monkeys.
What’s with you and monkeys, anyway?
Art: girl with arms crossed looking at kid, who is shrugging. Girl rolling eyes at boy.
Art: boy talking. Show cowboys, grinning, salt of the Earth. They are dressed in cliché cowboy gear. Next to them we see same cowboys, but now see-through, looking a bit confused at being made into ghosts … one had his hands on his body like he can’t believe he is now see through. Next to ghost cowboys show robots dressed in same cowboy gear, doing all sort of cowboys stuff – using lassos, wearing line-dancing kind of clothing.
A city of tiny little people …
Art: girl talking, show close up of ultra modern metropolis – but in back ground show kids faces as they peer at it from behind. This is a double spread, beautifully detailed futuristic city. Think hover-cars, robots, and people dressed in weird clothing combinations.
Illustrated by the very amazing Katrina Hill
Their entire city could sit on the palm of your hand!
Art: continuation of double-page spread.
Page 18 & 19
Scientists building a top-secret supersonic street racer …
Art: boy talking. Show interior of house, like a massive lab – people in white lab coats, wind tunnel. Schematics and measuring equipment everywhere. This is a double-page spread. This page is trying to show how large the interior of the lab is – so large in fact that the outside of the house would have to be much larger than it actually is. On the schematics we see a three-seat pedal go-cart. In the centre of the lab suits a huge supersonic street racer. The racer has a yellow lightning stripe down the side, and a number 3 in a circle.
It’s the training centre for the Egyptian Fighting Snail …
Art: show Egyptian fighting snail in a tiny gym, next to a punching bag. He is wearing a headband. Looks like a boxer … but Egyptian colouring. On the shell is a hieroglyphic of a boxer.
Art: second page of Egyptian Fighting Snail spread. We can see posters of previous great snail fighters adorning the walls. We can also see other Egyptian Fighting Snails engaged in various other training exercises.
Cows doing Yoga!
Art: Boy talking. Show a lot of very holistic looking cows doing Yoga. This is a double-spread. The cows are sitting on grass mats, in various contorted poses. Some are real yoga poses; others are in crazy contortions. The view, again, suggests that the inside of the house must be larger than house could possibly be.
Art: double-page spread. Over here we see some cows involved in other holistic activities. There is a small ‘Lentil Bar’ on this side. Some cows are eating lentil patties. There are various foods up on the board – all with Lentils, including Lentil Milkshake. One of the cows is evidently drinking a lentil milkshake, and not enjoying it much.
What’s that noise?
Art: Kids looking at each other. Rumble rumble rumble – show art all triple image as if is shaking.
The door’s opening! Hide!
Art: show garage door rumbling it’s way up.
Kids peaking out over fence.
Secret agent ballerinas …
Ninja Monkeys …
Art: show little thought bubbles with each of these things above their heads. Girl is saying secret agent ballerinas. Boy is saying ninja monkeys.
Top Secret Super Sonic Racer!
Art: Show garage with front wheels of go-cart coming out. Kids looking at each other totally amazed. Can you believe that one of the things we imagined is actually true?
It’s the new neighbour!
Art: show new neighbour kid pushing out this three-seat pedal go-cart.
Hi I’m Tom, want a ride on my go-cart?
Art: A bit closer up – the go-cart mimics the design of the supersonic racer from earlier. It has a yellow roughly painted stripe down the side, as well as a number 3.
I heard some weird noises from the house across the road. I think it could be pirates…
Art: three kids are sitting in the pedal cart. Tom is pointing across the road. It is clear that Tom is talking.
Art: the two kids are super-excited, guessing what could be across the road.
Art: show kids sitting in three-seated pedal go cart, racing off down the road, it is a top down, angled view.
As they pedal off, show other houses in the area — show some monkey ninja’s in the backyard having a barbecue with some ballerina top-secret agents. Show two houses over the scientists working on super sonic rocket racer. Show Egyptian Fighting Snail hitting a punching bag. Across the road, we can see some pirates peering out from behind curtains.