How one can write a biography

Biographies are big business. Whether in book form or Hollywood biopics, the lives of the famous, and sometimes not so well-known, fascinate us.

While it’s true that almost all biographies are about people who are in the public eye, generally the topic is less well known. Principally although, well-known or not, the one who is written about has led a life that’s in some way incredible.

While your students will most likely have a basic understanding of what a biography is, it’s worth taking a little time before they put pen to paper to tease out a crystal clear definition of exactly what a biography is.

Simply put, a biography is an account of someone’s life written by somebody else. While there is a style known as fictional biography, for essentially the most part, biographies are by definition nonfiction.

Usually speaking, biographies provide an account of the topic’s life from the earliest days of their childhood, right up to the present day or their death, if the topic is deceased.

The job of a biography is more than just to outline the bare info of an individual’s life.

Rather than just listing the essential details of their upbringing, hobbies, training, work, relationships, and loss of life, a well-written biography should also paint an image of the topic’s personality and as well as their experience of life.

Earlier than students start writing a biography, they’ll need to have a firm grasp of the main features of the genre. A very good way of initially determining how well they understand these essential parts of the genre is by asking them to compile a checklist.

At a minimal, their checklists should include the items below. Make sure to help them fill in any gaps earlier than moving on to the writing process.

The aim of a biography is to provide an account of somebody’s life

Tense: Written in the past tense (though ending may shift to the current/future tense)


● Written in the third person

● Opens with a strong hook to seize the reader’s attention

● Often written in chronological order

● Makes use of time connectives

● Covers: childhood, upbringing, training, influences, accomplishments, relationships, and so on – everything that helps the reader to understand the individual

● Offers specific details about individuals, places, occasions, times, dates, etc

● Reflects on how occasions shaped the topic

● Could embody some relevant images with captions

● Concludes with what the subject is doing now or what their legacy will be.

Sensible Activity:

As soon as your students have compiled a complete checklist of the principle options of a biography, permit them to make use of it to assess some biographies from the library utilizing the checklist.

When students have assessed a collection of biographies, take some time as a class to discuss them. You possibly can base the dialogue around the following prompts:

● Which biographies covered all of the criteria from their checklist?

● Which biographies didn’t?

● Which biography was essentially the most readable in terms of construction?

● Which biography do you think was the least well structured? How would you improve this?

Taking the time to look at how different writers have interpreted the form will help students to internalize the required criteria earlier than attempting to produce a biography themselves.

As soon as students have a transparent understanding of the principle features of the biography, they’re ready to start work on writing a biography.

When the time does come to put pen to paper, be certain they’re armed with the following top ideas to assist ensure they’re as well prepared as possible.

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