What comes to mind when you hear the words biography and autobiography outline? Storytelling is as old as the human race itself, with tales of great men and women often passed down from one generation to another. In the old days, it was mostly oral. With the rise of written languages and technology like the printing press, reliving the lives of the famous and noteworthy has become even easier. Read on and discover what nuances you can find within the pages of a biography.
It should be clear by now, but those who will insist on a biography definition may be satisfied with this: a detailed account of a significant person’s life as written or told by somebody else. If it were written by the person himself or herself, then it would be an autobiography. People consume these kinds of works for various reasons. There’s the admiration for the topic of the biography for one. Fans will do whatever they have to so that they can get their hands on lesser-known trivia about their idols. Then there’s the historical and educational value to these books. People with noteworthy lives will have lessons to provide to those who have yet to walk a mile in their shoes. This is not only significant for history writing reasons, but for personal ones as well.
Take any biography sample from your local bookstore. What do you notice? Biographies are often written like any other book; many have tables of contents like in academic reports, forewords, acknowledgments, and more. All written before, in-between, or after the vast majority of the book’s content. If you’d like to know how to write a biography, here are some tips that you will find useful:
Writing the story of someone’s life is a serious undertaking. You cannot afford to just come up with facts about a person out of thin air. It is a fact that extensive research is conducted by biographers, with many spending months or even years on that part of the process alone. They will conduct interviews with friends, family members, and others. The comparing of notes between individuals becomes a necessity. Before you do anything else, you must do your research. Only then can you proceed to look into outline examples and other important elements.
Many biographies aim to inform, but that doesn’t mean you can just place facts in any way you see fit. This is particularly true if you intend the biography to be commercially distributed. People will want to read it, but if the style of writing is boring or unengaging, then they may not feel motivated to finish it. To sum this tip up, you must pay as much attention to the style as you would to the substance.
There are biographies for figures who have since passed away, but others may still be alive and kicking. Such people will want to have their lives told in a way that is pleasing to them. Otherwise, the author of the book may find him- or herself in deep trouble. Collaborate with the subject so that you can come up with a project outline that everyone can be happy about. The same can apply to those who have died, except you won’t be speaking to the deceased person. Instead, you’ll have to clear certain things with their surviving family members and friends.
Nobody likes reading errors in any biography. Such errors may be grammatical or centered around facts. For the latter, mistakes like that will reflect badly not just on you as an author, but on the reliability of your biography. It can go as far as to damage your book marketing efforts. Always proofread and check up on what you’ve written. Typos are embarrassing, but the accidental spread of misinformation is even worse.
A biography does not have to tell a complete story. Some may focus on a particular time period of another person’s life, such as childhood to early adulthood, for example. Others may decide to tell the whole life story, but that won’t be possible for still-living subjects. They may have future goals that involve telling the rest of their life story in a separate book.
That will depend on how much material the author has or how much he or she is permitted to tell. There are some writing examples where the books that are intentionally concise, for a variety of reasons. A biography is not required to be incredibly long or very brief. It will all depend on the circumstances and intentions.
There’s a fine way to make any rough outlines that you are working on feel more engaging. It does not matter if the story is fictional or non-fictional, like biographies. The rule of ‘show, don’t tell,’ will apply regardless.
From the top of our heads, it’s easy to come up with biography examples. Music lovers can immediately conjure up the idea of a Freddie Mercury biography, for example. Techies can easily think of the Steve Jobs biography just as fast as history buffs can think of a George Washington biography. With biography books being so common, it’s tough to ignore what they have to offer and now that you’re better familiar with these books, it’ll be difficult for you to pass one up as well. After all, not only do these book outlines tell magnificent stories, but they are stories we can learn much from. So act now and find a biography in bookstores everywhere!