Tips to Write a Biography about a Famous Person

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In a biography, you will be sharing the life story of someone that is famous, in this case, with your audience. Once you know which famous person you are going to write your biography about, you’ll need to begin to do your research, unless someone else is going to write papers for you, to ensure that you know as much as possible about the person you are writing about. Once you’ve done your research, you will need to begin writing your biography and finally revising it at the end.

Below we will outline some tips to help you write your biography and break these down into three parts.

1- Research

  • You need to make sure you have permission from your subject before you write your biography. If the person that you have chosen to write about is not alive then you will not need permission to write the biography.
  • It may be worth creating some research questions so that you have a focus point for your biography. For instance, is there anything new that you can talk about? Is the person important to your audience? Is there anything that you’d like to know more about?
  • Make sure you use primary sources where possible. These include journals, already written biographies, books, newsletters, letters, videos, and interviews. To find resources, head online, or use a library. Try and read as much as possible and highlight any important information that you’ve come across.
  • If the famous person you are writing about is still alive, try and see if you can interview them and those who are closely connected to them such as family members, coworkers, or a spouse. If you conduct your interview in person then use a recorder to record the interview. Alternatively, you can interview the person via email or telephone.
  • Consider the time period when the person was growing up. Look at the culture, politics, and economics at the time, as well as any important events that happened during that time.   Consider if these have any impact on the person you are writing about.
  • Spend time visiting locations that are relevant to the famous person. This gives you the chance to get a feel for things that are important or have meaning to the person. For instance, you could visit their local neighborhood of their childhood town.
  • It may be worth creating a timeline of the famous person as this is a great way to organize your findings. On your timeline, highlight any important moments, including names of locations, and dates.

2- Writing

  • It is worth having a thesis sentence or statement which highlights the main idea of your biography. This thesis statement can help you to organize your biography. It’s very important to make sure that the content in your biography always refers back to your thesis.
  • When it comes to writing your biography, consider doing it in chronological order. Begin with the famous person’s date of birth through to their death or the age they are at now.  You can use this to help you to structure your biography. In your biography, you may choose to concentrate on specific aspects of a person’s life. If you do decide to do this Then make sure you do this in chronological order.
  • Look at any milestones or important events that have occurred in the famous person’s life.  For example, births, marriages, or deaths. Also, point out any important moments that occurred in the person’s life so that your audience gets to understand what was important to the person they are reading about and what impact it had on the life that they lived.
  • A good idea would be to use flashbacks in your biography, so this means you move from the present back to the past. For example, you may begin writing about something that is present and include an aspect that relates to the person’s past.
  • See if you can spot an important pattern or theme in the famous person’s life. For instance, you may see that the subject faced many difficulties over numerous occasions and did their best to fight against them.
  • As you are writing the biography, remember you play a part in the biography that you are writing. This means you need to add your own thoughts and opinions about the person you are writing about. Think about the research you have done and mention how this influences how you view the person now.

3- Editing

  • Any sources that you have used in your biography will need to be cited.  Make sure you are aware of how you need to cite this information correctly.
  • Make sure you proofread your biography and check for punctuation, grammar, and spelling errors. It is worth reading your biography backward as this may help you to spot any grammatical and spelling mistakes. There is nothing worse than having a biography that’s full of errors as it will have a negative impact on your readers and may also mean that you will score badly if you are completing your biography as an assignment.
  • Ask friends or family members to read the biography for you to see if you can get some feedback from them. Ask them if they feel that after reading the biography they feel it’s easy to read and they got a good understanding of the famous person’s life. Any feedback that you are giving needs to be taken in such a way so that you use it to improve your biography. Don’t avoid editing and cutting out parts of your biography if this is required.

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