One of our regular volunteers, Ann, has been numbering some of the Enid Blyton typescripts this week. Once material has been catalogued, everything in the collection is numbered (in pencil, so the number can be easily removed if necessary!). Each item is given a unique reference number based on the catalogue, so that we can track every single piece of paper in the collection. With typescripts, not only does the whole draft have a unique number, but each page is given a folio number so we know exactly how many pages make up each draft.
This is what Ann has been doing with the Blyton typescripts, and she has noticed something interesting. As she has been numbering, it has become apparent that Enid seems to insert more and more additional pages into the drafts as they progress. Enid numbered each page as she typed, but as Ann got further through each draft there was a growing discrepancy between Enid’s page numbering and the folio numbers. Extra pages had been added in, sometimes with page numbers simply being repeated, sometimes numbered with the preceding page number and then an ‘A’ or ‘B’ after the number.
This would suggest that Enid was doing some revising and editing as she worked. She seems to have had a pretty good idea of the start of each story, but as she got further in she appears to have made more changes, necessitating the insertion of additional pages. Perhaps she found her books easy to start, but more difficult to write as she neared the end. Or perhaps these added pages represent moments of distraction, when the thread of her thinking was broken and she had to struggle to get back into the rhythm of the story.