How To Write Biographies: The Basics

The basics of biography writing and how to make it interesting.

There are many different types of books to be written in the world of writing and each one has its own special style and specifications. One genre is the biography. A biography is the account of someone's life story, written by another person and most usually contains more of the author's own opinions rather than straight facts. A biography is different from an autobiography where the subject of the book is also the author or has worked with a ghost writer to tell the story of their lives. If you are interested in writing a biography, you've got a lot of research and interviewing ahead of you but the results can be an intriguing account of one person's view of another's life.

A biography can help bring the subject to life and show what influence he or she has had on our lives. When we write a biography, we usually have some sort of angle or slant that we want to show the person in. It is very difficult to be totally objective when you are composing a biography. The most important thing you need to do is to be sure your facts are correct and can be supported. The last thing you want is to be sued by the subject of your book or their family for misrepresentation.

Be sure the subject of your biography is especially intriguing or interesting to you. You will be crawling around inside this person's life for quite awhile and if you get bored with it you will not dig deeply enough in your research. You need to explore all possible sources of friends, family members and past acquaintances and try to set up as many interviews as possible. Check things such as old alma maters, past places of employment and any newspaper stories that may have been written. You will need to put together a complete time line of the person's life history in order to keep events in sequence.



Explore the different aspects of your subject's life, who loved him and why, who hated him and why? Try to show duality, the good and the bad, even if you are slanted more in one direction. It is not a good idea to write something that resembles an attack on any person, in fact, some of the most interesting biographies show the tender and human side of despicable people. It can also be interesting to dig up some dirt on heros and prominent benefactors to show that we are all human.

The one thing you don't want to do when writing a biography is to simply list names, dates and events in a long boring list. You need to write creatively and use suspense to keep your readers interested in your story. Make the subject of your book as interesting to others as it is to you. Don't forget to include your own opinions, observations and conclusions. If there are other biographies written on your subject, read them. Be sure to include excerpts if there are things you strongly agree or disagree with.

In any case, be sure you don't distort facts or make unfounded accusations, support your opinions with examples and facts and you will have a biography you can be proud of.

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