How to Write Biographies

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A Biography is the story of a person's life. 

It can be short or long. Short biographies tell the basic facts of that person's life, and longer biographies they do all that but they also tell good stories. We find biographies of famous people and infamous people, and sometimes the lifes of ordinary people are written into biographies. The truth is that they give information not only about that person in particular, but also about the time and place that person lived.

 

When writing a biography, we can divide the process into three parts.

The first part is the research, researching your subject finding anything written by or about the subject. It can be books, letters, pictures, newspapers, magazines, internet articles, videos, other existing biographies, etc. You can also interview people that knows your subject well, and he or she may tell you stories you cannot find anywhere else. Visiting places that where significant in the live of your subject can be helpful as well. Study the history, the period of the subject's life. And last, you can explore what interested and influenced his life.

 

The second part consists in analyzing the subject's life with all the research you have done. Assemble a timeline (like Facebook) recording every event and look for patterns. Some people go through phases during their lives, analyze his or her relationships for instance. Then, make a thesis statement, which is a claim you will be making in your biography. This is important because it is what it will make different from other biographies about the same subject. Finding a unique angle or a theme for telling the individual story in a way both informative and entertaining is key.

 

Finally, the last part is writing the biography. Organize your ideas and how you will recount them, it can be organized chronologically, or structured around his work or accomplishments, or using flashbacks. Style your biography into a narrative to tell the story, the “how” is as important as the “what”. Try to engage the reader through your writing while giving information about the subject's life. Writing a great biography is the hardest of all three parts. So sit down and write. And rewrite, write multiple drafts. Like when writing any other book, have someone else read your biography. And once you've finished, think of a title.