How to write a biography

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

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

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

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

Usually speaking, biographies provide an account of the subject’s life from the earliest days of their childhood, right as much as the present day or their loss of life, if the topic is deceased.

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

Relatively than just listing the essential particulars of their upbringing, hobbies, training, work, relationships, and death, a well-written biography must also paint a picture of the topic’s personality and as well as their expertise of life.

Earlier than students begin writing a biography, they’ll must have a firm grasp of the main options of the genre. A good way of initially determining how well they understand these essential components of the genre is by asking them to compile a checklist.

At a minimal, their checklists ought to comprise the items below. Be sure to assist them fill in any gaps before 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 (although ending might shift to the current/future tense)


● Written in the third person

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

● Normally written in chronological order

● Uses time connectives

● Covers: childhood, upbringing, schooling, influences, accomplishments, relationships, etc – everything that helps the reader to understand the particular person

● Offers particular details about people, places, events, instances, dates, etc

● Displays on how occasions formed the subject

● May embody some relevant photographs with captions

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

Practical Activity:

Once your students have compiled a comprehensive checklist of the primary features of a biography, permit them to use it to evaluate some biographies from the library using the checklist.

When students have assessed a number of biographies, take some time as a class to debate them. You may base the dialogue around the following prompts:

● Which biographies covered all the criteria from their checklist?

● Which biographies didn’t?

● Which biography was essentially the most readable when it comes to 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 assist students to internalize the required criteria earlier than making an attempt to produce a biography themselves.

Once students have a clear understanding of the principle features of the biography, they’re ready to begin work on writing a biography.

When the time does come to put pen to paper, make sure they’re armed with the next top suggestions to assist guarantee they’re as well prepared as possible.

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