Although Blyton’s first drafts appear to be the only drafts, she did make some changes before sending them off to her editor. She read through each typescript once it was complete, and made minor changes and corrections by hand. But these really are minor changes – a different choice of adjective here, a slight rearrangement of the sentence structure there. Occasionally a character’s name might change, as I’ve discovered happened to Gustavus in The Circus of Adventure. He appears in the typescript as Gustavious, with a pencil note beside his first appearance stating “change to Gustavus throughout”. But plots, story development, structure, events – none of these change in any significant way.
What can we infer from this dearth of evidence for rewriting and revision? It suggests a writer with a very clear, defined vision of her books – she knew exactly what she wanted to write, and she wrote it. But there may be other factors involved as well. It seems quite probable, as her popularity grew, that she felt the pressures of time and the expectations of her fans, and developed an increasingly efficient approach to her writing as a result. Her typescripts certainly suggest a formidable mastery of her craft, and a very ‘no nonsense’ approach to writing. Which, given the volume of work she had published, is perhaps not surprising!