How on Earth do you write a biography?!

  1. ThompsonPen profile image73
    ThompsonPenposted 7 years ago

    How on Earth do you write a biography?!

    I have so many inspiring people that surround me, and I feel like the world should know about these amazing people, and would love to write a biography. But I have no idea how to go about it! I can hardly accurately depict my own life, never mind another person's life whose shoes I haven't lived in!

  2. SidKemp profile image92
    SidKempposted 7 years ago

    I haven't written a full-length book biography, but I have included biographies in many of my books and articles.

    Start by writing your own autobiography, just to get clear about the life you know best, and to practice.

    Also, read excellent biographies, and see how it is done. There are many methods. Do you go with facts, or personal accounts? How do you deal with controversies? Find one to three biographers and use their method of thinking and presentation (not their style).

    Then decide who you are most passionate. And decide why *you* want to tell their story: What is your perspective and message (which is not the perspective and message of the person you are writing about.)

    Then write one article summarizing key moments in the person's life. Then write a few more about specific events, words, or actions of that person.

    Then put it all together.

    Go for it!

  3. BobMonger profile image60
    BobMongerposted 7 years ago

    To do justice to someone else's biography takes a lot of hard work and a lot of hours at the keyboards. In some cases you're talking months and even years to put together and do the thing justice-and that's if that person is still living so you can really pick their brain and "get it from the horse's mouth" as it were. You should also consider that person's state of mind, health, and ego.  Even the most avowed narcissist will eventually get tired of talking about themselves when pressed; a hell of a note after a few years work only to have your subject lose interest when your only halfway through with their story.   Now then, writing your own biography is treading on a slippery slope.  If you get the chance, read Mark Twain's autobiography which was published on the 100th anniversary of his death-as per his wishes.   I put this one at the one end of the slope-it is longer than "War and Peace" but much more entertaining-and only Twain could have pulled it off.  On the other end would be my grandfather's attempt which, after living 98 years on a farm in southern Utah, comprised 23 type-written pages of not much that was interesting.  I'd like to think mine would fall somewhere in between the two.


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