I know a truly inspirational person. Well, by "I know" I mean I am acquainted with. She has battled the law on so many things due to her amazing adopted son who was dealt a tricky hand, and happens to be a client of mine.
Her life is something that I think would touch so many people, and I would love to write about her, let her know that her struggle has done so much for so many. But I have no idea how to write a biography, and I don't even know how to go about asking her!
Have you ever written a biography about a still living person?
I've never done it myself, but you could try this:-
1. Has she relatives or friends who know a lot about her? Usually grandparents, aunts and sisters are better at keeping tabs on family members.
2. School friends - initiate the 'flow' by talking about your own school friends, and encouraging her to talk about hers. They'll fill in what you need to know. Fellow alumni from university might know more, and so on. What about former suitors, men friends? Some element of animosity might creep in, but it's all part of life.
3. Ask a professional detective how they'd go about it. In the end, though, unless you're going to wait until you publish it posthumously, you've hot to let her know what you've done. you've also probably got to let her see it.
4. Got nerves of iron? Go for it!
If I wanted to learn how to write biographies...
I'd go to the library and pick out 5 biographies of people that I'm interested in, dead or living. By the time I was done enjoying reading those five books, I'd have a pretty good idea as to how to go about it.
I think the first thing to do is to get to know her more fully, spend more time with her so that you can gain her friendship and trust. Try to discern her own reflections about her life, how she sees it all from a "looking back" perspective. As you learn more about you you will have an idea about how to tackle her life story, how to arrange her chapters, little things about her that make her interesting -- the jewelry she wears, etc. Then one day you can broach the idea of trying to write her life story together. She may want to write the chapters, and you can edit them. But find out what she wants, how she wants it done, etc.
I was supposed to do a biography but the main problem was that while I'd done books before, they were always ghost written. I wanted my byline on the book. But the first question I was asked was, "have you ever written a book before?" We met twice to talk about her book, but since then it's been on "hold." If you have no previous books you've written, you would have more of a chance gaining her trust and friendship first. Sharing one's life to a larger world is a big thing to a person. They need a strong arm to hug them as they speak, as well as a writer.to put down what they say.
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