It is fun to write an interesting biography. Sharing the story, someone’s life with readers is so exciting. You might be given a task to write the biography for a class or a personal project. If you want to learn how to start a biography, what to include in a bio and how to write a good bio, then follow the tips mentioned in this article.
What is in a biography?
A biography is a record of a series of events of a person’s life in written form. Sometimes certain events can be quite boring, so it is your task to make them biography as interesting as possible.
Every student, at some point, will have to write a biography, but the level of sophistication and details always differs. A student who is in the fourth standard will write a different biography from a middle school student’s biography or a college student.
However, it is important to include certain basic details, and using trustworthy resources to collect information is also essential.
Researching the subject
- Ask the person for permission to write their biography- before you start with research, make sure to get consent from the subject for writing their bio. Ask if they would like to be the subject. Getting permission will make it easier for you to write the bio, and you will get so much more information about their life. If the subject does not give consent to write the biography, you should choose a different subject. You may be susceptible to legal action if you write the bio without the subject’s permission unless the subject is not alive anymore.
- Look for main information sources about the subject- some primary information sources can be a newspaper, letters, pictures, books, newspaper clipping, internet articles, magazines, videos, journals, interviews, and pre-written biographies or autobiographies. You can look online or in your local library for these sources. Read about the subject a much as you can and highlight the important information that comes across. Create research questions to focus on the subject like what the readers would like to know about the subject, what is interesting about the subject, what new information can I add about the subject? Etc.
- Take the interview of the subject and people close to them- interviewing many people will make your research more meaningful. People can tell you many stories that you can’t find elsewhere. Interview people who are close to the subject like friends, spouse, family members, business partners, peers, and coworkers. If you cant visit them in person, conduct the interviews through phones, video calls, or even e-mails. When conducting an in-person interview record in a voice recorder or phone. You may have to interview the subject more than once.
- Visit locations that are related to the subject’s life- to understand the subject better spend some time in the areas and location that are important and meaningful to subjects’ life. It could be the neighborhood or house he was born in. Visit his workplace or any regular hangout place. Also, take a visit to the areas where the subject made some life-changing decisions or breakthroughs. This will give you a sense of how the subject must have felt, and you will be able to write the experience in a better way.
- Study the place and time fo the subject’s life- imagine how the subject’s life must have been by looking around. Consider the time period when they born and grew up and the place they have lived in. Research on the political, economic, and cultural situation of that time.
- Make the timeline of the subject’s life- to organize the research, make a proper timeline of the person’s entire life from birth till today. Draw a line on paper and fill the life of the subject as much as you can. Highlight the important moments and events on the timeline. Mention important locations, dates, and names. You can also include historical moments and events that affected their lives.
Writing the Biography
It is important to follow a proper biography format, biography outline when writing. Every school or college mentions the biography guidelines for students, keep those guidelines in mind while writing.
- Follow a chronological structure- start from the birth of the subject till their later life. Use the timeline you created of the subject’s entire life to create an outline of the biography. If the person is no longer alive, include some information on their death. You will have to work through different periods of the subject’s life in chronological order.
- Making a thesis of the biography- preparing a thesis may prove helpful with your main central idea of the biography. The thesis statement will help you in writing the entire biography. Make sure all the content connects in some way with the main idea. For instance, if the thesis statement of your biography is a civil rights movement in America 1970, them ensure that all the content revolves around this statement.
- Use Flashbacks- Flashbacks means moving to the past event from the present. You may start writing about the present event and then include a scene about a past event of the subject’s life. You may have one complete chapter focusing on the present scenario and then one entire chapter dedicated to the past. Flashback should feel real and must be detailed. Use the interviews and your research notes t get a good sense of the past flashbacks.
- Focus on major milestones and events- write about the major event in the subject’s life; it could be marriage, death, or birth in subjects’ life. Also, include major milestones like their first business venture. Highlight the important moments of their life. The reader should get a good sense of the events that mattered to the subject and how they affected the person’s life.
- Identify a major pattern or theme in a person’s life- look in your research for similarities between moments and events in a person’s life. Check for recurring situations or phases in the subject’s life. For instance, a person’s life may have a pattern of adversity when the subject fought and worked hard against large forces. You can use such incidents to tell about how the subject overcame these situations of adversity.
- Write your opinions and thoughts relating to the subject- you are the biographer, and you play a role in the subject’s life story. You should not shy away from putting down your own thoughts about the subject in your book or text. Comments how you view the subject and reflect some points in your research. For instance, you may notice how to see the parallels in the subject’s life during a big historical movement with your own interest in social justice. You can also comment on the hard work of the subject and the positive impact they left on society.
Polishing the Biography
- Show your biography to other people, and get feedback- after you have completed the first draft of the biography, show it to your friends, peers, teachers, and mentors and ask for their feedback. Ask them if the biography is easy to read and gives a good sense of the subject’s life. Be acceptable to the feedback, and use them to improve your biography and make it good. After receiving the feedbacks, revise the biography and edit or cut down any part that the leaders did not like.
- Proofreading- read the biography and check for any grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. Mark all the errors and correct them. Having too many spelling or grammatical mistakes ill turn the readers off and will get you poor grades if this text is for your class.
- Cite the sources of research in the biography- biographies also include information relating to the research done by the writes and source of information like articles, books, magazines, and interviews. Make sure to cite all the sources you paraphrase or directly quote. You can use an in-text citation, endnotes, and footnotes.
What is an example of a biography?
If you want, you can check some samples of biography before starting yours. This will help you understand better how to write an interesting biography.