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?'"
The Naughtiest Girl inside the School Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 184 pages. Condition : Used. name scribbled out inside purple crayon about inside front plus back cover (back cover is big print) no different marks or tears. Elizabeth Allen is spoilt plus selfish. Whenever she's delivered away with boarding school she makes up her notice with become the naughtiest pupil there's ever been! However Elizabeth shortly discovers which being bad isn't as basic because it appears... About the Book Excerpt from the Book: "You'll need to go with school Elizabeth!" mentioned Mrs Allen. "I think the governess is very proper. The are spoilt plus nasty plus though Daddy plus I were g click
Tales After Supper Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 188 pages. Condition : Used. No marks or tears. With dust jacket About the Book Another assortment of delightful small stories by Enid Blyton that will be welcomed by youngsters plus incidentally might supply the most wonderful answer with the age-old condition of "tell me a story!" Its many illustrations plus easy-to-read stories combine with create an great book for a story before bedtime. In it you meet Grace that grumbled all time a goldfish whom has several surprising adventures plus Too-Little Tommy whom learned which size isn't everything. These along with a entire host of interesting characters come with lifetime inside Enid Blyton's exciting stories. About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born about 11th Aug 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a store inside East Dulwich South London. Shortly following her birth her parent additional info.....
The Rockingdown Mystery Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 188 pages. Condition : Used. First some pages have come loose from binding nevertheless continue to be contained in book dust jacket nonetheless inside tact no different marks or tears. About the Book This is the initially Enid Blyton adventure secret story regarding Barney the circus boy plus his wicked litle monkey Miranda Roger plus Diana plus their irrepressible cousin Snubby Snubby has a dog - a completely crazy spaniel called Loony. What with all the youngsters as well as the moonkey as well as the dog there is a great amount of liveliness - plus whenever a first-class Mystery turns up the excitement is great. Who makes the noises inside the evening? What is the secret regarding the aged deserted home whose top room continue to be furnished because nurseries? What is the secret of the wide aged cellars? Where does the underground stream go with? All these issues plus countless others more info
Mr Meddle's Mischief Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 184 pages. Condition : Used. No marks or tears. About the Book Excerpt from the Book: Mister Meddle became a pixie whom couldn't mind his own company. He was for ever poking his lengthy nose into different people's houses plus meddling with any they were doing. One day he felt more meddlesome than routine thus he ran round with Dame Gladsome's. She was rather busy which morning yet because shortly because she saw Mister Meddle's nose round the door she flew with closed it! "I've come to aid you " mentioned Meddle crossly. "Oh I'm much too busy with be bothered with a aid!" mentioned Dame Gladsome plus she turned the key inside the lock... About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Life (1952) Enid Blyton claims which from an early age she more.....
Round the Clock Stories Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 182 pages. Condition : Used. Sticker about initial page no additional marks or tears. About the Book Stories inside the Book: The Little Singing Kettle The Little Brown Duck The Pixie Who Killed the Moon Old Bufo the Toad The Boy Who Pulled Tails The Tale of Mr Spectacle The Goblin's Pie Feefo Goes with the Market Adventures of the Sailor Doll Clickety-Clack The Enchanted Bone Fiffle-De-Dee - The Foolish Brownie The Elephant as well as the Snail The Invisible Gnome Mr Grumpyroo's Hat The Fairy as well as the Policeman The Little Red Squirrel The Little Walking Home Sly-One's Puzzle Mr Widdle found on the Train Who Stole the Crown? "Tell me my Name!" Gooseberry Whiskers The Mean aged Man Great Old Jumbo The Nice Juicy Carrot Ki details
Five On Kirrin Island Again Book 6 inside the Famous 5 Series Author : Enid Blyton Format : Paperback Condition: Used. No marks or tears. Dimensions : 11cm x 18cm x 1cm About the Book What is Uncle Quentin as much as all alone about Kirrin Island? He won't allow anybody see not even George as well as the rest of the well-known 5. However Uncle Quentin isn't absolutely alone found on the island—someone is viewing his each move. About the Famous Five The Famous 5 are a group of kids that have the kind of adventures many kids dream about inside a planet where ginger ale flows plus ham rolls are a staple diet. Julian Dick plus Anne meet with their cousin George inside the initially adventure Five On A Treasure Island. George is a girl whom wants thus desperately with be a boy she crops her hair plus struts regarding doing boy elements. She hates it whenever folks call her by her correct name Georgina. She has a dog called Timmy—oh yes plus an island. Many kids merely have a dog yet George's parents own Kirrin Island pl click here
Tales at Bedtime Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 188 pages. Condition : Used. Small black mark about inside front cover no alternative marks or tears. About the Book Now here is the type of book we like! It is full of all kinds of stories lengthy plus short; exciting ones funny ones surprising ones with a lot of photos. We need to read about plus about with the end plus then turn back with the ones we like the many plus read all of them over again. Enid Blyton the story-teller has created them for we to make sure they are simply the king we love right. Should you have a brother or sister you'll enjoy reading the stories aloud. Try it plus see! About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born about 11th August 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a store inside East Dulwich South here
The Folk of the Faraway Tree Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 185 pages. Condition : Used. Name about initially page no different marks or tears. About the Book Excerpt from the Book: One day Mother came with the 3 youngsters because they worked out inside the garden plus talked for them. "Jo! Bessie! Fanny! Listen with me for a minute. I've simply had a letter from an older friend of mine plus I am thinking what with do regarding it. I'll read it with we." Mother read the letter: "Dear Old Friend "Please might we do anything for me? I have not been perfectly for several time as well as the doctor claims I should disappear about a lengthy christmas. But as we recognize I have a small girl Connie plus I cannot leave her by herself. So might we please allow he remain along with you till I return? I will naturally pay we effectively. Your 3 kids are advantageous plus well-behaved plus I feel which their companionship is really good for my small Connie whom is I click the link
The Naughtiest Girl is a Monitor Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 185 pages. Condition : Used. Name about inside front cover no alternative marks or tears. About the Book 'Oh dear I want I wasn't a monitor! I want I may go with a monitor for aid! I can't even think what I should do!' When Elizabeth Allen is selected with be a monitor inside her 3rd expression at Whyteleafe School she attempts with do her right. However somehow elements fail plus shortly she is within as much trouble because she was inside her initial expression whenever she was the naughtiest girl inside the school! About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born about 11th August 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a store inside East Dulwich South London. Shortly following her birth her parents moved with Beckenham inside Kent plus it was there inside a quantity of different houses over time which Enid Blyto more advice
The Whispering Island Game Book Three inside the Famous 5 Adventure Games Series Author: Enid Blyton Illustrator: Gary Rees Condition: Very advantageous condition. Paperback. Used. Creases to pay for corners. Damage with front cover where book title is About the Book Based about Enid Blyton's - 5 have a Mystery with Solve You have frequently read regarding The Famous Five's adventures...now here's the chance with take element inside 1! This time YOU are inside charge. YOU need to exercise the clues read the maps break the codes. Whether The 5 resolve the secret or not is within the hands. You will likely not automatically resolve the secret about a initially attempt. It may take many goes. Keep striving though and you may eventually succeed. Even when we have solved the secret the game may nonetheless be played again. For there are numerous different routes with the answer - plus every path involves different clues plus adventures. So the game is played over plus over. As several instances because we like! About Enid Blyton How Did Enid Blyton Become a Writer? In her autobiography The Story of My Lif click the link
Five Go To Demon's Rocks Book 19 inside the Famous 5 Series Author : Enid Blyton Format : Paperback Condition: Used. Ex-library book collection stamp about back inside cover. Dimensions : 13cm x 20cm x 1cm About the Book The 5 know the stories regarding treasure about Demon's Rocks yet they not thought they were absolutely true! When they discover a pretty aged useful gold coin the myth becomes real. Who does the treasure belong with? The gang are determined to locate out...but thus is somebody else. About the Famous Five The Famous 5 are a group of youngsters that have the kind of adventures many kids dream about inside a planet where ginger ale flows plus ham rolls are a staple diet. Julian Dick plus Anne meet with their cousin George inside the initial adventure Five On A Treasure Island. George is a girl whom wants thus desperately with be a boy she crops her hair plus additional info.....
Come with the Circus Book Forty-Eight inside the Rewards Series Author: Enid Blyton Condition: Fine condition. Hard Cover. Used. Small stamped name about title page. About the Book Excerpt within the book: "Fenella! Where are we?" called Aunt Janet's voice. "Come here a minute. I've got anything with tell you" Fenella place down her sewing plus went to find what her aunt sought. She was 10 years of age little for her age with a small pointed face green eyes along with a shock of wavy red hair. She has no dad or mom plus had lived all her lifetime along with her aunt Janet. Her aunt was peeling potatoes inside the kitchen. She looked up because Fenella came inside. "Help come here
The Book of Brownies Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 185 pages. Condition : Used. First page taped inside address about last page no different marks or tears. About the Book 'To be turned from Fairyland!' wept Jump. 'Oh what a terrible punishment!' Hop Skip plus Jump are 3 nasty brownies whom love with play tips. However whenever a wicked witch tricks the tricksters plus has them capture the small fairy-princess Peronel for her they are turned from fairyland by the angry King. Join Hop Skip plus Jump because they set out with save Peronel within the clutches of Witch Green-eyes. A magical story of excitement plus adventure from Enid Blyton About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born about 11th August 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a store inside East Dulwich South London. Shortly following her birth her parents moved with Beckenham inside Kent plus it was there inside a amount of different houses over time which Enid Blyton invested her childhood. She had 2 young brothers—Hanly born inside 1899 plus Carey born inside 1902. Enid loved reading. Among the books she lots more
Secret Seven Adventure Author : Enid Blyton Format : Paperback 96 pages. Condition : Used. Name about initially page no additional marks or tears. About the Book The Secret Seven have exciting adventures - read this book plus take piece inside 1 with them! This is their 2nd adventure inside that an exciting look for lost pearls leads the Secret Seven with a circus... About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born about 11th August 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a store inside East Dulwich South London. Shortly following her birth her parents moved with Beckenham inside Kent plus it was there inside a quantity of different houses over time which Enid Blyton invested her childhood. She had considerably more details
Sunshine Book Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 184 pages. Condition : Used. First pages lost - begins at contents no different marks or tears. About the Book Excerpt within the book: Big-ears the goblin was constantly found on the look-out for anything he might take. Occasionally it was an apple off a barrow or off somebody's tree. Occasionally it became a biscuit within the countertop of Mr butter the grocer's plus often some flowers from a garden... He was too smart with be discovered that had been a pity considering a wise spanking might have completed him a great deal of superior plus may have stopped his bad techniques. But nobody ever spanked him or secured him up for a evening thus Big-Ears grew worse plus worse. About Enid Blyton Enid Mary B here
Hello Mr Twiddle! Author : Enid Blyton Format : Hardcover 184 pages. Condition : Used. tiny quantity about initially page no additional marks or tears. With dust jacket About the Book Mr Twiddle plus his lovable comical methods are absolutely well-known with thousands of youngsters all over the planet. He makes the many ridiculous errors plus does the many amazing items much with the surprise plus annoyance of his spouse. All kids love humour as well as might discover plenty inside this book. About Enid Blyton Enid Mary Blyton was born about 11th Aug 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane a two-bedroom flat above a store inside East Dulwich South London. Shortly following her birth her parents moved with Beckenham inside Kent plus it was there inside a much more info
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 states which from an early age she "liked generating up stories much better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she might go with bed at evening plus stories might flood into her notice "all mixed-up quite like dreams are but every story had its own definite thread—its beginning plus center plus ending." Enid Blyton didn't realize at the time which that has been unusual remarking inside a letter with psychologist Peter McKellar about 15th February 1953: "I thought all kids had the same 'night stories' plus was surprised whenever 1 day I found they ha link here
The Secret Island 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 claims which from an early age she "liked generating up stories much better than I liked doing anything else." As a child she might go with bed at evening plus stories might flood into her notice "all mixed-up somewhat like dreams are but every story had its own dElectronic Fuel Injectionnite thread—its beginning plus center plus ending." Enid Blyton didn't realize at the time which which was unusual remarking inside a letter with psychologist Peter McKellar about 15th February 1953: "I thought all kids had the same 'night stories' plus was surprised whenever 1 day I found they hadn't." She described her "evening stories" because "all types of imaginings inside story shape " saying: "B related info
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 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 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.
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, or Frederick, in the Find-Outers Mystery books was based on "a plump, ingenious, very amusing boy" whom Enid Blyton once knew.
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."
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.
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 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."
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