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Enid Blyton - Children's Author - Biography

Enid Blyton Biography - Children's Author

 

How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer?

In her autobiography, The Story of My Life (1952), Enid Blyton says that, from an early age, she "liked making up stories better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she would go to bed at night and stories would flood into her mind "all mixed-up, rather like dreams are, but yet each story had its own definite thread—its beginning and middle and ending." Enid Blyton did not realise at the time that that was unusual, remarking in a letter to psychologist Peter McKellar on 15th February 1953: "I thought all children had the same 'night stories' and was amazed when one day I found they hadn't." She described her "night stories" as "all kinds of imaginings in story form," saying: "Because of this imagining I wanted to write—to put down what I had seen and felt and heard in my imagination."

The young Enid was keen to develop her writing and story-telling skills. She told stories to her brothers, made up her own rhymes based on the rhythm and rhyme-scheme of popular nursery-rhymes, kept a diary, wrote letters to real and imaginary recipients, entered literary competitions and paid great attention in English lessons at school. She also read widely. As well as fiction and poetry, she read biographies of famous authors and borrowed books from the library on the Art of Writing.

The advice Enid Blyton gives in The Story of My Life to children who want to write is: "Fill your mind with all kinds of interesting things—the more you have in it, the more will come out of it. Nothing ever comes out of your mind that hasn't already been put into it in some form or other. It may come out changed, re-arranged, polished, shining, almost unrecognizable—but nevertheless it was you who put it there first of all. Your thoughts, your actions, your reading, your sense of humour, everything gets packed into your mind, and if you have an imagination, what a wonderful assortment it will have to choose from!"

Enid began submitting her work to publishers when she was in her teens, but at that stage she received countless rejection slips. However, that only made her all the more determined to persevere with her writing: "It is partly the struggle that helps you so much, that gives you determination, character, self-reliance—all things that help in any profession or trade, and most certainly in writing." As we know, Enid Blyton went on to achieve phenomenal success, beginning with the publication of magazine articles and poetry when she was in her twenties.

 

How Did Enid Blyton Write Her Books?

Enid Blyton typed out her stories while sitting in her study or in the garden, her typewriter perched on her knees. She did not learn to touch-type but used her two forefingers, still managing to type with speed and accuracy.

Enid explains in The Story of My Life that she did not plan a work of fiction before starting to write it. Often, she had no clear idea where the plot was heading. Instead, she simply allowed the story to unfold in her mind as she typed, relying on her fertile imagination rather than on conscious invention. She compared the process to viewing "a private cinema screen inside my head... and what I see, I write down." In a letter to Peter McKellar on 26th February 1953 she added: "But it's a 3-dimensional screen, complete with sound, smell and taste—and feeling!"

When Enid Blyton was beginning a new book, the characters would appear in her head first: "They stand there in my mind's eye and I can see them as clearly as I see you when I look at you. I can see if they are tall or short, dark or fair, fat or thin. And more than that, in some queer way I can see into their characters too. I know if they are kind or unkind, hot-tempered, generous, amusing or deceitful!" Then she would see the setting—a wood, perhaps—and would start to explore the place, feeling excited and curious. Once the characters and setting were established she would begin to type and the story would flow fluently from her fingertips, at an astonishing speed:

"It is as if I were watching a story being unfolded on a bright screen. Characters come and go, talk and laugh, things happen to them... the whole story sparkles on my private 'screen' inside my head, and I simply put down what I see and hear.

The story comes out complete and whole from beginning to end. I do not have to stop and think for one moment. If I tried to think out or invent the whole book, as some writers do, I could not do it. For one thing it would bore me, and for another it would lack the 'verve' and the extraordinary touches and surprising ideas that flood out from my imagination. People in my books make jokes I could never have thought of myself. I am merely a sightseer, a reporter, an interpreter, whatever you like to call me."

Her letter to Peter McKellar on 15th February 1953 makes a similar point about the process of writing:

"I don't know what anyone is going to say or do. I don't know what is going to happen. I am in the happy position of being able to write a story and read it for the first time, at one and the same moment... Sometimes a character makes a joke, a really funny one, that makes me laugh as I type it on my paper—and I think, 'Well, I couldn't have thought of that myself in a hundred years!' And then I think, 'Well, who did think of it then?'"

 



body td th { font-family: Arial Helvetica sans-serif; } Five Fall into Adventure Author : Enid Blyton Format : Paperback 188 pages Condition : Used. No marks or tears. About the Book The Famous five - Julian dick George Anne and timothy the dog. Their ninth hazardous adventure. At first the Five are not very friendly with Ragamuffin Jo whom they met one day on Kirrin beach but they have reason to be grateful to her later on when she helps them out of danger. About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton says that from an early age she "liked making up stories better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she would go to bed at night and stories would flood into her mind "all mixed-up rather like dreams are but yet each story had its own definite thread—its beginning and middle and ending." Enid Blyton did not realise at the time that that was unusual re click here.....



The Goblin Aeroplane and other tales Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover Condition : Used. General wear no notable marks or tears. About the Book Enid Blyton is one of the most popular children's authors of all time. In each of these attractively illustrated books are three of her original stories specially written for young children. The author's charming and imaginative story-telling will give hours of read-aloud enjoyment. Titles in the series: A Cat in Fairyland and other tales A Puppy in Wonderland and other tales The Enchanted Sea and other tales and The Goblin Aeroplane and other tales. About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton says that from an early age she "liked making up stories better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she would go to bed at click here



Five Go To Billycock Hill Book 16 in the Famous Five Series Author : Enid Blyton Format : Paperback Condition: Used. No marks or tears. Dimensions : 11cm x 18cm x 1cm About the Book Hurrah! It's holiday time and the Famous Five are spending it at Billycock Hill. Most exciting of all they've made a new friend—a real pilot! But when he disappears with top secret equipment the Five are puzzled. Could their new friend be a spy? About the Famous Five The Famous Five are a group of children who have the sort of adventures most kids dream about in a world where ginger beer flows and ham rolls are a staple diet. Julian Dick and Anne get together with their cousin George in the first adventure Five On A Treasure Island. George is actually a girl who wants so desperately to be a boy she crops her hair and struts about doing boy things. She hates it when people call her by her correct name Georgina. She has a dog called Timmy—oh yes and an island. Most kids just have a dog but George's parents own Kirrin Island and let her run around on it as if it were her play-thing. Her parents are known to Julian Dick and Anne as Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny. About Enid Blyto come here



The Mystery That Never Was Author: Enid Blyton Illustrator: Gilbert Dunlop Condition: Fine condition. Hard Cover. Used. Name on first two pages (not title page). About the Book The oddly-named short novel The Mystery That Never Was features a lively boy named Nicky Fraser and his next door neighbor and best friend Ken. Nicky is a live wire and his excitement is almost contagious as he begins the story rushing about the house on the first day of the Easter hols. What with him and his dog Punch you feel almost as worn out as the poor housekeeper during the first couple of chapters. Nicky's Uncle Bob is coming to stay and this is great cause for even more excitement—because Uncle Bob is a private detective! However Mrs Fraser soon dampens Nicky's spirits by telling him that Uncle Bob is coming to stay for a well-earned rest due to overworking. That means she tells her son tha click



The Adventurous Four Again Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 184 pages. Condition : Used. Name on first page small marks where price sticker was on front cover. Get other Enid Blyton books here About the Book Excerpt from the Book: Three very excited children bumped along a round contry lane in a farmer's cart. the Scottish carter sat in front saying nothing but listening with a little smile to the children's happy voices. "We shall see Andy again soon! We haven't seen him since our exciting adventures last summer!" said Tom a red-haired boy of twelve. "It was bad luck getting measles in the Christmas hols so that we couldn't come up here and stay in out little cottage " said Jill. She and her sister Mary were twins and were very like each other. They each had long golden plaits and blue eyes and were younger than Tom. About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born on 11th August 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a shop in East Dulwich South London. Shortly after her birth her parents moved to Beckenham in Kent and it was there in a number of different houses over the years that Enid Blyton spent her childhood. She had two younger brothers—Hanl lots more



11 Enid Blyton Books Author : Enid Blyton Format : Various. Condition : Used see individual title info below The Magic Faraway Tree Hardcover. Yellowing pages no other marks or tears. The Mystery That Never Was Hardcover. Name on first page yellowing pages wear to dust jacket no other marks or tears. Stories For You Hardcover. Name on inside front cover price sticker on front cover pages starting to yellow no other marks or tears. Tales of Toyland Hardcover. Yellowing pages no dust jacket no other marks or tears. Go Ahead Secret Seven Hardcover. Name on first page small stamp on inside front cover pages and cover slightly brown no other marks or tears. Noddy Has An Adventure Hardcover. Name in nameplate and another crossed out wear details



Secret Seven Adventure Author : Enid Blyton Format : Paperback 96 pages. Condition : Used. Name on first page no other marks or tears. About the Book The Secret Seven have thrilling adventures - read this book and take part in one with them! This is their second adventure in which an exciting search for missing pearls leads the Secret Seven to a circus... About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born on 11th August 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a shop in East Dulwich South London. Shortly after her birth her parents moved to Beckenham in Kent and it was there in a number of different houses over the years that Enid Blyton spent her childhood. She had two younger brothers—Hanly born in 1899 and Carey born in 1902. Enid loved reading. Among the books she read were Anna Sewell's Black Beauty Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies and Louisa M. Alcott's Little Women. She said of the characters in Little Women: "Those were real children... details



Amelia Jane Again! Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 184 pages. Condition : Used. Name on first page (otherwise blank) no other marks or tears. About the Book Excerpt from the book: Now once the toys in the nursery had a party and they didn't ask that big naughty doll Amelia Jane. She didn't even know they were going to have a party until she saw them setting the table and smelt the cakes cooking on a little stove in the dolls' house. "Ooooh!" said Amelia Jane pleased. "A party! This is a surprise!" The teddy bear looked at her. "It will be an even greater surprise to you when you find you're not coming!" he said "We're a bit tired of you and you're tricks. A party will be very nice without you!" About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born on 11th August 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a shop in East Dulwich South London. Shortly after her birth her parents moved to Beckenham in Kent and it was there in a number of different houses over the years that Enid Blyton spent her childhood. She had two younger brothers—Hanly born in 1899 much more info

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Bedtime Stories - Connie Carless and What a silly thing to do! Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 30 pages Condition : Used. General wear no notable marks or tears. Dimensions : 13cm x 19cm x 0.8cm About the Book No one has ever discovered how to hold a child's interest as well as Enid Blyton. Here are two of her stories each delightfully illustrated in colour which are just right for reading aloud. Ideal for 3-7 year olds. About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton says that from an early age she "liked making up stories better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she would go to bed at night and stories would flood into her mind "all mixed-up rather like dreams are but yet each story had its own definite thread—its beginning and middle and ending." Enid Blyton did not realise at the time that that was unusual remarking in a letter to psychologist Peter McKellar on 15th February 1953: "I thought all children had the same 'night stories' and was amazed when one day I found they hadn't." She described her &q more information.....

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The Wishing Chair Again Author : Enid Blyton Format : Paperback Condition: Used. No marks or tears. Dimensions : 11cm x 18cm x 1cm About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton says that from an early age she "liked making up stories better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she would go to bed at night and stories would flood into her mind "all mixed-up rather like dreams are but yet each story had its own definite thread—its beginning and middle and ending." Enid Blyton did not realise at the time that that was unusual remarking in a letter to psychologist Peter McKellar on 15th February 1953: "I thought all children had the same 'night stories' and was amazed when one day I found they hadn't." She described her "night stories" as "all kinds of imaginings in story form " saying: "Because of this imagi more tips

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Pipes for Old Puff and The Little Down Cushion Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover. Condition : Used. No marks or tears. About the Book Excerpt from the Book: Puff the old gnome sat down at the foot of the big oak tree in spring and lit his pipe. Puff wasn't much bigger than a daisy so as you can guess his pipe was very small and not much some came from it. But there was quite enough to annoy a caterpillar erating a leaf. He called down to Puff "Hey you! Go away at once! I don't like your smell." Puff looked up indignantly "My smell indeed! It's my pipe you can smell and a very nice smell it makes too. About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton says that from an early age she &q more details.....

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Second Form at Malory Towers Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 148 pages. Condition : Used. Name on inside front and back cover no other marks or tears. About the Book Darrell Sally Gwendoline Mary-Lou and all the other girls from the First Term at Malory Towers are now in the second form and they are all as lively as ever. Mam'zelle Dupont is still trying to be strict Alicia plays a terrible trick with invisible chalk and Gwendoline and Daphne inevitable get into trouble. About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born on 11th August 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a shop in East Dulwich South London. Shortly after her birth her parents moved to Beckenham in Kent and it was come here

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Stories For You Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover Condition: Used. No marks or tears. Dimensions : 13cm x 19cm x 2cm About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton says that from an early age she "liked making up stories better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she would go to bed at night and stories would flood into her mind "all mixed-up rather like dreams are but yet each story had its own definite thread—its beginning and middle and ending." Enid Blyton did not realise at the time that that was unusual remarking in a letter to psychologist Peter McKellar on 15th February 1953: "I thought all children had the same 'night stories' and was amazed whe link here

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body td th { font-family: Arial Helvetica sans-serif; } The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage Book One in the Mystery Series Author : Enid Blyton Format : Paperback 126 pages Condition : Used. White-out used to cover name and scribble on first page covers contacted no other marks or tears. About the Book Who could have set fire to Mr Hick's cottage? The suspects include a tramp and even the housekeeper Mrs Minns. The Five Find-Outers and Dog aim to solve the mystery before Mr Goon the grumpy policeman. About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton says that from an early age she "liked making up stories better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she would go to bed at night and stories would flood into her mind "all mixed-up rather like dreams are but yet each story had its own definite thread—its beginning and middle and ending." Enid Blyton did not realise at the time that that was unusual remarking in a letter to psychologist Peter McKellar on 15th February 1953: "I thought all children had the same considerably more details

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The Mystery of the Secret Room Author : Enid Blyton Format : Paperback Condition: Used. No marks or tears. Dimensions : 11cm x 18cm x 1cm About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton says that from an early age she "liked making up stories better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she would go to bed at night and stories would flood into her mind "all mixed-up rather like dreams are but yet each story had its own definite thread—its beginning and middle and ending." Enid Blyton did not realise at the time that that was unusual remarking in a letter to psychologist Peter McKellar on 15th February 1953: "I thought all children had the same 'night stories' and was amazed when one day I found they h come here

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Good Old Secret Seven Book 12 in the Secret Seven Series Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover Condition: Used. Library stamp on several pages and ticks next to a book list. Dimensions : 13cm x 19cm x 1.5cm About the Secret Seven Series All the books are about the same seven children and their dog Scamper and each book is complete in itself. About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton says that from an early age she "liked making up stories better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she would go to bed at night and stories would flood into her mind "all mixed-up rather like dreams are but yet each story had its own definite thread—its beginning and middl more data

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The Magic Snow Bird Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 192 pages. Condition : Used. Name on first page no other marks or tears. About the Book Excerpt from the book: Once upon a time Derry the doormouse hid a nice little store of cherry-stones in the hole of a hollow tree. He was so pleased with them that he went to look at them every day. Sometimes he nibbled one and when he came to the kernel inside he ate it all up. But he couldn't keep his secret to himself. When he med Bright-Eyes the squirrel he called to him: 'Bend your head down Bright-Eyes and I will tell you something. I have a store of cherry-stones in the hollow tree! It is nice to have a secret like that!' About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born on 11th August 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a shop in East Dulwich South London. Shortly after her birth her parents moved to Beckenham in Kent and it was there in a number of different houses over the years that Enid Blyton spent her childhoo extra info

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Tales of Toyland and Other Stories Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 184 pages. Condition : Used. Slight scuffing to bottom of spine. Get other Enid Blyton books here About the Book Excerpt from the book: 'I don't want to stay in the nursery' sobbed the fairy doll. When the other toys in the nursery are unkind to them Tiptoe and Jolly decide to move to Toyland. Join them on their adventures as they meet exciting new friends such as the Wobbly To-and-Fro and the funny Clockwork Clown. Enid Blyton's tales of Toyland and the other enchanting stories in this book have been enjoyed by generations of young readers - and you're sure to love them too! About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born on 11th August 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a shop in East Dulwich South London. Shortly after her birth her parents moved to Beckenham in Kent and it was there in a number of different houses over the years that Enid Blyton spent her childhood. She had two younger brothers—Hanly born in 1899 and Carey born in 1902. Enid loved reading. Among the click here

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The Adventurous Four Stranded Author : Enid Blyton Format : Paperback Condition: Used. No marks or tears. Dimensions : 11cm x 18cm x 1cm About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton says that from an early age she "liked making up stories better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she would go to bed at night and stories would flood into her mind "all mixed-up rather like dreams are but yet each story had its own definite thread—its beginning and middle and ending." Enid Blyton did not realise at the time that that was unusual remarking in a letter to psychologist Peter McKellar on 15th February 1953: "I thought all children had the same 'night stories' and was amazed when one day I found they hadn't." She described her "night stories" as "all kinds of ima come here

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Tales After Tea Author: Enid Blyton Condition: Fine condition. Hard Cover. Used. First page missing (is the blank page title page not removed). About the Book Excerpt from the first story: The children thought they would build the biggest sand-castle that had ever been built on the beach before. "It shall be higher than any of us " said Benjy. "Taller than the chair-man " said Irene. The chair-man was very tall - taller than anyone the children has ever seen. "Gracious!" said Katie. "It will be an enormous castle. We'll all help to build it then it will soon be done." "Don't let's ask Arthur to help " said Benjy. "He's so big and rough." "But he's strong and he could build very fast " said Irene. "All the same don't let's ask him " said Kathie. "He shouts so and h find out more.....

Surely Enid Blyton Must Have Done Some Planning Before Writing a Book?

It is worth exploring in a little more detail Enid Blyton's apparent ability to simply open the sluice-gates of her imagination and let a story flood out, without any planning beforehand. Critics have naturally questioned her claim to be able to do that, and the subject deserves closer examination.

In Chapter 14 of The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton takes us through the process of writing a book, giving The Enchanted Wood (1939) as an example. This is an odd choice, since several key elements of The Enchanted Wood (which, incidentally, was written thirteen years before The Story of My Life) had been used previously in earlier works. These elements may have suddenly sprung into her mind as she worked on The Enchanted Wood, but they were certainly not new creations. Enid ignores that, presenting some of these things as having popped into her head completely out of the blue as she wrote the book, and declaring that she was as surprised by them as anyone.

She tells us that she began with the characters of Jo, Bessie and Fanny. Then she followed a winding path through a wood in her imagination, and suddenly saw "the strange Faraway Tree, a tree that touches the sky, and is the home of little folk. I had never heard of it, or seen it till that moment—but there it is, complete in every detail." In reality, Enid Blyton had already been acquainted with the Faraway Tree for about three years before writing The Enchanted Wood, as she had first written about the tree in The Yellow Fairy Book (1936.)

Enid Blyton goes on to describe climbing the tree in her imagination and seeing a door at the top: "... before I can knock, it is opened, and there stands a round, red-faced, twinkling-eyed little fellow, beaming at me. I know who it is, though I have never in my life seen him before. It is Moonface, of course." Once again, further investigation reveals that Enid Blyton had created Moonface previously. He too had appeared in The Yellow Fairy Book, complete with little round room and slippery-slip.

Enid then writes: "I can hear a strange noise—a jingling-jangling, clinking-clanking noise. What is it? Ah, yes, you know, because you have read the book. But at that moment the story hasn't even been written yet, so I don't know. I have to look and see what makes the noise." It is the Saucepan Man, hung with clanking pots and pans, but then Enid Blyton ought to have known that since she had dreamt up the character of the Saucepan Man thirteen years earlier, when writing The Enid Blyton Book of Brownies (1926.)

She describes following Moonface and the Saucepan Man up the topmost branch of the Faraway Tree to discover that "A little yellow ladder stretches surprisingly from the last branch, up through a purple hole in the cloud that lies on the top of the tree." "Surprisingly" may not be quite the right word, as the ladder and cloud also featured in The Yellow Fairy Book.

So, it appears that in The Story of My Life Enid Blyton is giving us a somewhat fictionalised account of the writing of The Enchanted Wood, making things neater and simpler than they really were. Some valuable insights into her creativity may still be gleaned from her account, but it does not portray the whole truth of what was obviously a rather more complex process.

That brings me on to a consideration of the notes compiled by Enid Blyton for the Malory Towers school series. These were first made public in an article by Tony Summerfield for Green Hedges Magazine number 17, Christmas 1995. Notes exist for all six books but Tony looked in detail at the ones for Last Term at Malory Towers, published in 1951. When beginning a new title in the series Enid Blyton would start by jotting down a list of characters from the previous book, before summarising the intended contents of the new story in a couple of pages. The notes for Last Term at Malory Towers contain some plotlines which were not included in the final version of the book, such as the death of Gwendoline's father and Gwendoline's friendship with Amanda. Other proposed storylines concerning Belinda, twins Ruth and Connie and a few more characters may have been rejected by Enid Blyton because of their similarity to incidents in her St. Clare's series. A spiteful Spanish girl called Juanita, mentioned in the notes, does not appear at all in the book as we know it. Tony Summerfield comments: "... one is left wondering if Enid actually referred to these [i.e. to the notes] when she wrote the book" and it does indeed seem that she may have dashed off the notes in a matter of minutes and then failed to consult them while writing.

Although I have provided some evidence of planning, which contradicts Enid's statement that she did not plan her books before starting to write, I believe that, in general, her description of how her stories came pouring out spontaneously still has a good deal of truth in it. We know from her publishers and agents that she worked extremely fast and could complete a whole book in an incredibly short time. At the height of her powers she produced around 10,000 publishable words per day, writing a whole Famous Five or Adventure book in just five days. We also have some of her typewritten manuscripts, which show that remarkably few alterations were made between first draft and publication. These facts alone indicate phenomenal speed and fluency, allowing little time for planning or research. The greatest evidence, however, lies within the books themselves.

Enid Blyton's vocabulary is repetitive, with the same words and phrases, like "gloomily," "queer" and "at top speed" cropping up again and again. She rarely reaches for a more precise word such as "grotesque," "disturbing" or "bizarre" instead of "queer," for example. The most likely explanation for that is that she did not, as a rule, stop to think about the exact choice of words but was indeed swept along by the force of her imagination, her rapidly typing fingers barely able to keep pace with her thoughts.

On the positive side it is perhaps because she spent so little time planning that Enid Blyton's writing displays an appealing freshness and spontaneity, making her books so immensely readable. Enid has a knack of painting apt, imaginative word-pictures without resorting to lengthy descriptions or complicated phrasing which would slow down the narrative. She uses natural-sounding dialogue and lively similes and her work abounds with alliteration and onomatopoeia, enlivening the prose and giving it a lilting quality. Her simplicity of style could actually be regarded as a strength. If she sometimes fails to stretch her readers' vocabulary, she definitely does not fail in stretching their imaginations and making them ponder moral issues. Tough topics like juvenile crime and marital breakdown are tackled in books like The Six Bad Boys and the clarity and fluidity of Enid's writing means that these deeper aspects of her works are all the more accessible.

 

From Where Did Enid Blyton Get Her Ideas For Her Stories?

Enid Blyton maintained that the gates of her imagination were always ready to swing open at the slightest touch. All the things she had experienced in her life provided her with material for her stories. These life experiences:

"... sank down into my 'under-mind' and simmered there, waiting for the time to come when they would be needed again for a book—changed, transmuted, made perfect, finely-wrought—quite different from when they were packed away.
 
And yet the essence of them was exactly the same. Something had been at work, adapting, altering, deleting here and there, polishing brightly—but still the heart, the essence of the original thing was there, and I could almost always recognize it."

In a letter to Peter McKellar on 26th February 1953 she elaborated on this, saying that things she had seen on holidays, such as islands, castles and caves, would pop up frequently in her stories as she wrote:

"These things come up time and again in my stories, changed, sometimes almost unrecognisable—and then I see a detail that makes me say—yes—that's one of the Cheddar Caves, surely! Characters also remind me of people I have met—I think my imagination contains all the things I have ever seen or heard, things my conscious mind has long forgotten—and they have all been jumbled about till a light penetrates into the mass, and a happening here or an object there is taken out, transmuted, or formed into something that takes a natural and rightful place in the story—or I may recognise it—or I may not—I don't think that I use anything I have not seen or experienced—I don't think I could. I don't think one can take out of one's mind more than one puts in... Our books are facets of ourselves."

 

Why Did Enid Blyton Write So Many Books?

Enid Blyton took a great interest in children of all ages, saying: "I want to know you from the very beginning, and go with you all through your childhood till you are old enough to read adult books. I don't want you to be friends with me at one age only, I want to keep in touch with you all through your childhood days." Therefore she wrote for a wide age-range, from the Noddy stories, which are written for very young children, to the more sophisticated mystery and adventure stories. Having so many interests, Enid Blyton loved the challenge of writing about different subjects too. She is best-known for her mystery and adventure books, and for Noddy, but she also wrote school stories, nature books, religious books, animal stories, tales of farms and circuses, family novels, fantasy stories, fairy-tales and nursery tales, poetry, songs, plays and articles, as well as re-telling traditional myths, legends, fables and folk-tales.

The magazines which Enid Blyton wrote and edited—first Sunny Stories and then Enid Blyton's Magazine—kept her in touch with her readers. She wrote in her editorials about her home and family, her garden, her pets and places she had visited. Children felt that they knew her as a friend and would write to her, receiving chatty hand-written letters in reply. Some corresponded with her for years, even into adulthood. This close contact with her readers meant that Enid knew what kinds of stories would appeal to them. Some of the short stories in her magazines were inspired by letters she had received from readers, telling her about interesting or amusing things that had happened to them.

Enid Blyton wrote not only to entertain children but to educate and guide them, and her books invariably contain sound morals. In a letter to librarian Mr. S. C. Dedman in September 1949 she confided: "I'm not out only to tell stories, much as I love this—I am out to inculcate decent thinking, loyalty, honesty, kindliness, and all the things that children should be taught."

As Enid Blyton says to her readers in The Story of My Life: "Even if you have never met me, you know me very well because you have read so many books of mine... I am sure that you know exactly what I stand for, and the things I believe in, without any doubt at all."

 

Which of Enid Blyton's Characters Were Real?

Bill Smugs
Bill Smugs of the Adventure series was inspired by a man Enid Blyton and her husband Kenneth met one year while on holiday in Swanage, Dorset. The man said he would like to have adventures, adding: "I'd like to have been in the Secret Service, or something like that. Couldn't you possibly put me into a book and make me a Secret Service man? I really could have adventures then... Put me in as I am, with no hair on top, and anything else you like. And call me—let me see—yes—call me Bill Smugs, will you? That is what I used to call myself as a boy."

Enid Blyton comments in The Story of My Life: "Well, when I wrote the first Adventure book, The Island of Adventure, lo and behold, up popped Bill Smugs into the story. I was rather astonished. There he was, bald head and all—and in the Secret Service too!"

George Kirrin
George in the Famous Five books was based on a real girl: "The real George was short-haired, freckled, sturdy, and snub-nosed. She was bold and daring, hot-tempered and loyal. She was sulky, as George is, too, but she isn't now. We grow out of those failings—or we should! Do you like George? I do."

It is said that Enid Blyton confessed to literary agent Rosica Colin that George was based on herself.

Inspector Jenks
Police Inspector Stephen Jennings was the inspiration for Inspector Jenks in the Find-Outers Mystery books. When Jennings was promoted to Chief Inspector and then Superintendent, Enid gave Jenks promotion too! She wrote that Stephen Jennings was "as broad and burly, and kindly and shrewd and trustable as Inspector Jenks is in the Mysteries."

Fatty
Fatty, or Frederick, in the Find-Outers Mystery books was based on "a plump, ingenious, very amusing boy" whom Enid Blyton once knew.

Claudine
Claudine of the St. Clare's series was inspired by a Belgian girl from Enid's schooldays. "She was extremely naughty, very daring, not at all truthful, and hated games. She was, as our form-mistress said, 'as artful as a bagful of monkeys,' and yet everyone liked her. She would go to great extremes to 'pay back' a slight, or to return a kindness."

Mam'zelle
Plump, amusing, hot-tempered Mam'zelle in the St. Clare's books was modelled on one of the French mistresses who taught Enid Blyton at school: "She did many of the things she does in the books. She flew into rages, she stamped and wailed aloud at our stupidity. She was terrified of bats, mice, beetles, bees and spiders." Enid and her friends played tricks on Mam'zelle and she always fell for them, much to the girls' delight. She was theatrical in her displays of anger but she had a marvellous sense of humour and the girls loved her.

Amelia Jane
Naughty Amelia Jane was a rag doll belonging to Enid's elder daughter, Gillian. "How we all loved Amelia Jane, with her corkscrew hair, her big loose limbs, and her wicked face." When Gillian's friends came to tea, Enid Blyton would sit Amelia Jane on her knee and make her kick biscuits high into the air or smack the dog on the nose, to the amusement of the children.

Kiki
Kiki the parrot in the Adventure books was based on a parrot named Kiki owned by Enid's old aunt. Enid says: "She was a wonderful parrot, intelligent, talkative and mischievous."

Loony
Black cocker spaniel Loony in the Barney Mysteries (also known as the "R" Mysteries) was inspired by Enid Blyton's dog, Laddie: "I had to put Laddie into a book. He is so beautiful, so mad, and sometimes so extraordinarily silly."

Bimbo and Topsy
The stars of the book Bimbo and Topsy, Bimbo the Siamese cat and Topsy the fox-terrier, were real pets belonging to Enid Blyton.

 

 

Enid Blyton Biography - Children's Author

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