How To Write A Biography
How To Write A Biography
In this VideoJug video, Maggie Hamand shares some great tips about how to write a biography. Whether you are interested in what resources to use, where to begin your story or how to construct it, this video will tell you all about it.
There are two types of biographies, really. You might be writing about somebody you know, somebody in your family, somebody you knew personally, and then you have access often to some first-hand information about them. You might have letters from them, you might have photographs of them, you might have an awful lot of material.
You can talk to friends of friends, you can fill in a lot of gaps and details of their life. If you're researching a historical character, then there are a lot of resources that can help you. There's your local library, there's national libraries.
The British Library has almost everything you can think of. There are also local archives; there are also wills that you can look up. They provide a lot of fascinating information about people's lives.
Think of William Shakespeare, and how he left Anne Hathaway his second-best bet. There's a whole world in that detail. You can also get a lot of information online, and it's important if you're researching second-hand that you credit your sources.
Keep a proper record, because if your biography is ever published, they'll need that information; it will need to go in an index. Writing a biography isn't that difficult once you know how. The important thing is that it's not just a list of dates and things that happened to the subject of your biography.
You have to find a story in your biography. You need to find what happened to your character that's interesting, where to begin your story when their story gets interesting, and when to end it, at the end of the interesting bit of their life. So, we don't necessarily want to start with exactly where they were born and where they went to school and their first date.
We might want to start with the beginning of their career, if that's what's important about them. Or we might want to start with an important event in their childhood which was what made them decide to become a mountaineer. One important detail to know is if you're writing about a dead person, you can libel them, you can write anything you like.
But if you write about a person who's living, if you say anything derogatory about them, you can get into trouble. So, it's important to think about the interesting bit of your character's life. You can always fill in some of the other bits later, when you need to use that information.
If there's a bit of information from their childhood that you need, you can fit it in later, when you need to fit it in. So, you don't always have to do everything absolutely in chronological order, because that can be really dull. Good luck with your biography. .