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Five Tips to Remember When Writing a Biography

Do you have an interesting life story or some event that you would like to share with your readers? If yes, then you might have amazing material to write a great biography.

But – when you actually do sit down to write the biography, you will want to aim at writing a good one. Ideally, you will want the biography so good that you will want your potential readers to be gushing over it.

Before you start writing, you will want to ensure that you read a couple of biographies yourself to know how other authors have pulled it off. If you are wondering what it takes to write a good biography, we have your back.

Here is a list of things you will want to remember while writing a biography.

Keep reading!

You Need a Hook

Just like any other great book, you will want to start your biography with a great hook. Now, your hook can be anything – the objective of writing a great hook is to get your reader’s attention and to pull them into the story.

Now when it comes to writing a good hook – it can literally be anything. You could start the biography with a moment of tension or narrate a tragedy. You could, however, also start with a moment of triumph – a proud moment of your life.

You don’t have to follow a chronological order – you can start literally from anywhere – the beginning, the middle, or the end of the person’s life. You just don’t want to make the mistake of making a boring start, such as “Shakespeare was born in …” – such starts are boring and your readers will not want to read further.

Give More than Facts

If you want to make your biography a success, you will want to ingrain your amazing storytelling skills in the biography. You will also want to integrate suspense- the primary emotion that keeps the readers hooked to the pages – from beginning to end.

You will want your readers on the edge while turning one page after the other – eagerly waiting to see/ read how things unraveled in the subject’s life.

The key to writing a good biography is that it does reveal so much more than simple facts. You will want the readers to have a peek into the reader’s minds and souls. You will want to lay bare the subject’s inner workings – their thought process, vulnerabilities, and soul.

You will want to reveal strategically through your storytelling skill why the subject’s life matters and how a certain event in their life influences other people’s lives or how certain events in their life shaped history.

Mix Truth with Lies

Now when we say lies, we don’t mean that you should twist history. But – we are referring to the fact that it is perfectly okay to not be original all the time. Your primary focus should be on telling the story in a way that people will care about the subject.

As a matter of fact, the readers of biographies want to know or need to know more about the subject. And if you ace the storytelling technique, your biography will be fascinating enough to impress the readers.

It doesn’t really matter whether your story is original or not – your biography serves the purpose of providing your readers with a different insight. Your biography will be serving the following purposes as well:

  • Including overlooked sources
  • Providing the readers with a contemporary perspective
  • Integrating a creative approach
  • Inspiring readers
  • Informing readers about past events
  • Entertaining readers
  • Disgusting readers
  • Inducing thought-provoking ideas in the reader’s minds

Determine the Theme of the Biography

Despite the fact that a biography is not fiction, you will still want to integrate an angle or a theme that essentially keeps the readers engaged and maintains their attention from the first to the last page.

You will want your biography to be anything but boring, which is why you will want to use creative chapter headings and follow a theme throughout the biography. It could prove useful to integrate appendixes as well to provide your readers with further insight.

As mentioned before, you don’t necessarily have to follow a chronological order when writing a biography. You don’t have to tell everything that happened in the subject’s life from the day they were born to the day they passed away. Rest assured; it is a good idea to hire one of the best biography editors who will cross-check references for you.

Also, you will want to integrate a variety of sources – ideally – a mix of old and new materials to draw on. You will want to integrate newspapers, interviews, and other appropriate articles to offer a variety of sources. When using images, make sure they are historically correct.

Be a Story-Teller of the Biography

You will want to use your storytelling technique to put the person’s life and contributions into a historical context.

When writing a biography, you are essentially writing the story of a person, and there are other stories within their story too. So, you get the point – these stories matter. The subject is human, just like any other protagonist of fiction stories.

The subject will have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. They will also have their own set of struggles and obstacles to overcome before they experience a major breakdown in life, which then not only changes their life but turns into a defining moment to impact human history.

Naturally, there will be moments of sadness and happiness. An amazing biography doesn’t only contain the good parts – but it comprises a realistic depiction of the good and the bad. A biography is written to inspire its readers.

But the objective of a biography is also to inform the readers – perhaps entertain and even disgust them. You will want to make your readers feel something – some sort of emotion – or perhaps a wide range of emotions.

While telling the story of your subject’s life, you will want to avoid becoming too critical. You will also want to avoid jotting down a story that is too one-sided. You will want to remain neutral but capture the essence of the subject’s life or event.

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