How to Write a Biography: What Is Biography?

Biographies are how we learn about the lives of other people. Becoming well-versed in all the components that go into making a biography both worth writing and worth reading is critical whether you want to begin a biography on a famous person,(How to Write a Biography) historical figure, or influential family member.

What Is a Biography?

It is a third-person account of another person’s life story that is written from their perspective. It includes basic facts about the subject’s life, such as their birthplace, educational background, and personal interests.
A biography can also include information about the subject’s family and childhood, as well as how these events shaped their upbringing. When writing a biography, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about listing facts and dates; it’s about bringing a subject to life through the telling of compelling stories.

What Is the Purpose of a Biography?

The goal of a biography is to tell the story of someone else’s life to a larger audience. Often, biographers pick their subjects because they have compelling backstories or because they have universal themes that can be applied to today’s world.
Because of a lack of information about an interesting subject, some authors choose to write a biography or to update the public on facts that an existing biography might have missed.
If you’re looking for a way to lift your spirits, read a biographical story about a person’s accomplishments or triumphs over adversity. Some biographies are written to serve as cautionary tales, showing readers what not to do after reading about someone.

7 Famous Examples of Biographies

1. Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.
Two. Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton
1. The Life and Times of Winston Churchill by Martin Gilbert
Dr. Diane Jacobs’ Her Own Woman: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft
A Biography of Hans Christian Andersen by Jackie Wullschlager
6. Robert Caro’s The Power Broker
7. Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs

How to Write a Biography

To tell the story of someone’s life, you need to know more than just the bare essentials. A good biography focuses on the most interesting aspects of a person’s life, such as notable accomplishments, adversity, and major turning points in his or her story. Among the best biographies is one that provides enough personal details to give the reader a glimpse into the character of the subject. There are a few steps you can take to begin writing a biography:

Zero Biography: A Dangerous Idea Summary

Obtain prior consent. Once you’ve decided on the subject of your biography, you’ll need to get their permission before you begin writing. Although it’s not always necessary (like when researching a public figure or someone who has passed away), getting permission will simplify the research phase of your project. There may be significant details about the subject’s life story that they are willing to share up front if they are willing to be the subject of a biography.

Do your homework.  To get a complete picture of the person you’re writing about, you need to do a lot of research, no matter how much you think you know about them. Include details about the period in which they lived and how that influenced their daily activities if they are historical figures. The most trustworthy sources are primary sources, which are firsthand accounts of your subject’s life. Journal entries, emails, interviews, and memoirs are all examples of these. This includes personal websites, Twitter bios, social media accounts, or professional bios that the subject has made available to the general public. Secondary sources (magazines and documentaries), if proven accurate, can also be used.
Form a thesis statement. The first paragraph or chapter of your biography should explain to the reader what they can expect to learn about the subject. A thesis states a claim about the subject of the biography, and the rest of the work substantiates that claim.
Make a calendar. The chronology of a person’s life is usually laid out in chronological order in a biography. Before you begin writing, it’s a good idea to know the order of the most important events in your story.

Make use of flashbacks. If you’re writing a biography, you may want to intertwine an adult experience with one from their high school days. Without overwhelming the reader with a mountain of background information, an author can introduce relevant past events using flashbacks.


Comment below and tell us what you think. Facts aren’t everything in a biography, after all. Biographers can write whatever they want about the subject they are researching and writing about. When a person does something noteworthy, an author may explain why they believe it was significant, how the period affected the event, and what it meant to society as a whole. For example, For the author’s claim that this person deserves attention, and to keep readers interested throughout, will be evidence.

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