How to Write a Biography (With Examples)

What is a Biography?

A biography is a written account of someone’s life. It usually details the subject’s occupation, place in history, and what makes them unique. People write biographies about others in order to record the events that make up that person’s life for posterity or because they are interesting enough to be turned into books. There are many different styles, types, and lengths of biographies that are typically geared toward people’s different interests. A bio might detail someone’s entire lifetime or focus on a specific period in the person’s life.

Biography ideas

There are many different types of biographies. There are some standard classifications for these works, but there is overlap across the categories. The following list shows six basic types of biographical subjects:

1) Living people, which accounts for about half of all published biographies 2) People who have died within the last 50 years 3) Historical figures, which accounts for about one-quarter of biographies 4) Celebrities and entertainment stars 5) Business and political leaders 6) Athletes and other famous performers

4. A Living Person: The subject of this biography might be someone living now or who lived within the past fifty years. This type of biography is often referred to as a current or recent bio.

5. A Historical Figure: The historical figure must have been dead for at least 50 years to be classified as such. Many high school and college students write biographies on famous historical figures, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Amelia Earhart, George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Christopher Columbus, and Abraham Lincoln.

6. A Celebrity: Celebrities are people who have done something significant to gain widespread recognition, such as being a successful actor or musician. They are often featured in the tabloids because of their exploits.

7. An Entertainment Star: The entertainment industry offers many opportunities for aspiring writers to write biographies about their favorite stars. Even those who do not usually opt for biographies can be attracted to such a book if their favorite entertainer is written about.

8. A Business or Political Leader: This type of bio details the life of someone influential in business or politics, such as John D. Rockefeller, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

9. An Athlete or Other Famous Performer: Writers often choose to write a biography on an athlete or other performer because their experiences can be used to show how someone might succeed in their own field. There are many books about famous athletes, from those written for children to those directed at adults.

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Types of biographies

The first type is an authorized bio, written with the subject’s cooperation.

The second type is an unauthorized bio, in which the writer does not have the consent of the subject to write and publish it. This kind of book can sometimes produce libel problems if written carelessly and without proper research and attribution.

The third type of biography can be called a “virtual” or “fictional” bio. A subject is not involved in writing it, but it uses their lives as inspiration for a novel, play, or film.

Structure of a Biography

A biography is very different from other types of writing because it is factual and meant to be more like a history book than any other type of novel. While fictional novels are allowed to be creative with the storyline, biographies must stick to the facts or else they can cause libel problems for both you and your subject if anything untrue is said.

The first part of any bio is the introduction. This should contain all the general information necessary to understand your subject and why they are important enough to write about. You might want to explain their upbringing, family life, etc., but it’s also a good idea to include some details that will help readers empathize with your subject to be more interested in reading about them.

The next step is the body of your work, which is broken down into chapters. Each chapter should focus on important details of your subject’s life, including major events and turning points that made them who they are today. Try to make each chapter a cohesive whole by using lots of facts and stories from their life.

The final section should be a conclusion that sums up the most important details of your subject’s life and explains why they inspire others. You can also include some other information about what they have been doing recently or are still alive when their funeral would be held. If you want, you can also include a call to action for the sake of the reader’s closure.

How to Write a Biography

Write an Outline

Outlines help writers develop their thoughts before they begin the actual writing process. Writers can do this by writing out what they plan to include in each section of the bio. This makes the process easier to manage and helps writers stay with their original intent as they write.

Make a Timeline

Take some time before beginning the actual writing process to make a timeline. Use this as a guide for structuring your bio. For example, you could divide your biography into sections that include the person’s earlier years, middle years and later years.

Choose Your Format

Biographies can be written in a variety of formats, depending on the length and style. For a book-length biography, a writer might mix anecdotes with facts and interviews with researched material. The facts should be well documented from reliable sources such as those found through academic papers or journals. A shorter version could have sections that focus on major events in the person’s life.

Use different sections to cover the person’s early years, middle years and later years.

Use anecdotes and interviews to give perspective on the person’s life.

Cite your sources to be as accurate as possible about what happened in the person’s life.

Set a word goal for how long you want your biography to be.

How to write a professional bio

Honesty is the best policy when writing a professional bio. This means sticking with facts, staying objective and avoiding opinionated language. A good way to learn how to write a professional bio is by reading examples of bios written by professionals in your industry or by other professionals in related industries. These are not necessarily written for print but can help you learn how the language is used.

Writing a professional bio involves knowing what you want to say and then using your words carefully so that you do not mislead or misrepresent yourself in any way. It also involves finding ways to express yourself creatively with simple, beautiful writing. This doesn’t mean flowery language; it just means creatively expressing yourself.

Stick to the facts when you are writing a professional bio. This means sharing information that is strictly factual, not opinionated or subjective. Also, do not feel obligated to include every single detail of your life in this short space. Use select details instead of trying to give an all-encompassing picture of yourself.

If you need to, write a second bio just for your close friends and family that might include personal details such as hobbies or goals.

Write in the third person when writing a professional bio. This means to stick with “he” and “she” rather than using “I.” The language should be unbiased, so it is best not to use words such as “my” or “mine.” You can also use simple, clear language instead of flowery words and phrases.

Use short sentences and paragraphs that are easy to read. Avoid writing the bio in one long paragraph; this is not an interesting way to write, and it’s difficult for readers to follow. Use a mixture of short and long sentences and write in a way that is to the point and easy to understand.

Remember that your bio should be all about you – not about what you do or who you work for. You can talk briefly about yourself at the beginning of your bio, but make sure it quickly transitions into talking more specifically about your business.

How to Write a Bio for Your Professional Website

A professional bio is similar in many ways to the one you write for your resume. The difference is that it’s written specifically for readers interested in learning more about you and your business, rather than people who are currently hiring or looking for a potential employer. The focus should be on how your business can meet the needs of potential clients or customers, but also on how your business is unique. With your online bio, you can create a platform where your business can grow.

If your bio is intended for social media, for instance, a Twitter bio, make it brief and straight to the point. You don’t want your audience to be left guessing who you are after reading your bio. Use bios to build a personal brand.

Tailor your online bio to reflect what you want to emphasize about yourself and your work. This means knowing who your target audience will be before you start writing. Here, you can include details such as professional goals and your accomplishments in and outside of work.

What to Include in a Bio for a personal website

When you are writing a bio, think of it as a story about your business. A good bio will capture the audience’s attention and make them want to know more about what you have to offer. You can include content that includes:

Job title

Your professional history

A shortlist of your specialties

Your mission statement

Awards you have won

Testimonials from previous clients/customers

Contact information, including a description of your business and what it does. If appropriate for your industry, include photos or graphics that help to illustrate your work or some aspect of the services you provide. Keep in mind that some platforms, like LinkedIn, will limit the amount of content you can include in your bio.

What Not to Include in a Professional Bio

When writing a professional bio, avoid including personal information about yourself or your family members. Also, please avoid making subjective or judgmental statements that are not necessarily true for everyone who reads them. For example, do not include statements such as “I always help my clients succeed.” Instead, stick to more objective language such as “I help my clients achieve their goals by…” Another way to word the same statement is: “My clients report that I have helped them meet xyz goals” or “My clients generally find that I am good at helping them with abc goals.”

Do not include marketing language in your bio. You won’t want to come across as trying too hard to sell yourself, so stick with being factual and let the quality of your work speak for itself. If you have a certain number of specialties in a particular field, list them briefly in the bio, but don’t forget to include information on how you can help your customers or clients.

Make sure the bio is specific to your industry. State what kind of work you do, who you work with and focus on highlighting your strengths in that field. For example, if you are an accountant, then list down some important aspects such as:

Industry experience areas:

How many years of experience do you have? Do not include irrelevant information such as age or date of birth. It is suggested to stick with the past 10 years and emphasize your current position and expertise in your industry.

If you refer to yourself in your bio, it is suggested that you use “I” and not “we.”

Do not use the first person when referring to your business.

Process of writing a bio

Prewriting

Brainstorm words and phrases that come to mind when you think about who your target audience is and how they will benefit from the products or services that you provide.

Write a list of words and phrases to use as a reference when you start writing your bio.

Writing

Look over your brainstormed words and phrases and those from professional bios in your industry or other related industries.

Reviews

Review your final draft before you publish it online. Check to make sure that it is clear and easy to read. It should only take a few minutes to review since you will already have a good sense of what your bio says after the prewriting process.

Below is a short bio for your liking.

Biography of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in Hodgenville, Kentucky. He was the son of Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Abraham barely knew his mother because she died in 1817 when he was only 8 years old.

The Lincoln family moved to Indiana when Abraham was 7 years old and then 7 more times until they settled in Illinois when Abraham was 21.

Abraham Lincoln got his education by reading books at home and studying with local schoolmasters in Indiana and Kentucky before attending school for just one year in Indiana. Lincoln worked part-time as a shop assistant and later on a ferryboat to earn the money he needed for his education.

What should I include in my biography?

A bio should give the reader an understanding of what made the person notable. That means it’s important to include things like who they were, what they did, and why they mattered in history. A good way to get started is by writing out your thoughts ahead of time in an outline based on the different sections you want to use for your bio. For example, you could write about their earlier years, middle years, and later years. Another way is to start writing your bio by focusing on just one part of their life, such as an anecdote or interview with the person. Both methods will help you get started with the actual writing of your work, but it’s important to set a word goal for yourself so that you don’t get too overwhelmed with the length of your paper. It’s also important to make sure you cite what you write so that anyone reading can find out where your information comes from.

If you prefer longer bios, then check out the examples below

Biography examples

Example 1

In 57-58 A.D., Paul wrote the Book of Romans to the people of Rome who trusted Jesus Christ. It is in this book that Paul explains God’s plan of salvation for humans. The significance placed on our faith in Jesus Christ by the Book astonishes me. The Book emphasized that we must submit to Christ as our Master and lord. This Book has had a great impact on my life. I used to believe that good works alone could deliver us everlasting life, but I was proven wrong through the Book of Romans.

The Book of Romans can be compared to the other books in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, in which case it may be stated that. In contrast, salvation is promised by adhering to the Jewish Law or Mosaic Law in the Old Testament, salvation comes through faith in Christ and will result in eternal life.

The Old Testament is full of stories about God’s people offering animals as sacrifices. In the Book of Romans, we discover that we no longer need to offer animal sacrifices because Jesus Himself paid the ultimate price for our salvation. The Jewish Law’s requirement of righteousness in the Old Testament was completed through Christ’s sacrifice, detailed in the Book of Romans.

The Mosaic Covenant in the Old Testament set the pace for the New Covenant in Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, simply keeping the law guaranteed one salvation, but as stated by Paul in Romans, faith in Christ is what matters now.

Example 2

Troy features a superb cast and is regarded as one of the classics of Hollywood. It has received 11 accolades, including an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1957 and numerous international honors for its acting performances. My interest in military history films, as well as Homer’s The Iliad, propelled me to watch Troy.

The film features the love story between Paris and Helen that started the Trojan War, as well as Achilles’ battle with Hector during the war. It is through these two main plots that we are made aware of how warfare has changed over time.

Troy is an ancient city in present-day Turkey that was formerly a part of today’s Turkey. It has historical importance because of the Trojan War fought by the Greeks (Woodford). There has been a debate about the existence of Troy. Despite this, it is widely accepted that such a city did not exist, but Homer described it as Iliad.

The city of Troy is popularly known for the war that was fought there, the Trojan War. Homer recorded this in his epic poem ‘Iliad.’ According to him, it all started with a quarrel between Paris and Menelaus, who were husband and brother of Helen, respectively. In order to resolve the conflict, Agamemnon, Menelaus’ brother, commissioned a group of men to retrieve Helen from Paris. The first expedition was a failure as it failed to kidnap Helen. This would, later on, trigger the great war that wreaked havoc in both cities involved and also those who were not related at all.

The historic war scene from the Iliad has been retold in fiction. Brad Pitt played Achilles, the Greek war hero who led his Myrmidons and the Greek army to attack Troy. Hector was the prince of Troy, whose mother – Thetis – was half-sunken (Woodford). The storyline diverged from actual lore when Paris is able to kill Achilles in one blow. This is not an accurate portrayal because the spear Hector only landed on his ankle, but it did not beat him (Woodford).

The movie is set in a 3000 BC city during the Bronze Age, and it depicts some of the storylines of love relationships and compassion. Some of the tale leads are entirely made up. The overall plot is loosely based on Homer’s Iliad from the Trojan War (Wilson). With its tremendous box-office success and inclusion in Warner Bros. list of top movies, it has been recorded that the film was made with a budget of $163 million and also an estimated loss of $25 million as well as a worldwide gross revenue of over $497.5 million (Wilson).

The movie is a clear example of a well-edited, historically accurate and dramatized film. It provides a valuable insight into the lives in one of civilization’s early cities, passed on from generation to generation through literature. The war scenes are very graphic that makes it an interesting watch for many Hollywood fans. Generally, it can be said that the film is a very accurate depiction of the conditions during the Bronze Age and what happened in Troy thousands of years ago.

Short, concise and to the point, you now have a clear idea of how to write a bio. Remember that using relevant examples will help you a lot. The main thing is that your writing style should not be different from what you can find in other pieces of work. You have to use simple words and avoid complicated sentences as much as you can.

Tips for writing a bio

It is important to take good notes while researching for your bio. It helps you learn about the person and gives you a great opportunity to develop their character.

It is also important that you highlight the significant events in your subject’s life, such as when they were brought up when they got married and so on. This gives structure to your bio.

Be sure to use the right tone in writing a bio. Your tone must be formal and professional, especially if you are writing for a company or school purposes. However, it can be informal if you are only writing for yourself. It is better to go with a formal tone since it is more serious and readers will take it seriously.

Write many drafts for your bio. Allow yourself the time to rewrite and refine them so you can produce a great final product that future generations will remember.

When writing an academic bio, cite your sources so that anyone reading your biography will know your sources for the information.

Whether it’s for personal or professional purposes, make sure that the facts in your bio are well documented from reliable sources.

Do not use adjectives to describe people who are still alive since you might offend someone. This is especially true if the person is a public figure or celebrity. If you must use adjectives, make them positive.

When writing a bio on someone who is still alive, be respectful of the person’s privacy.

When writing a professional bio, remember to include only work-related information that is relevant for your readers.

When writing a formal bio, adhere to standard conventions and always use third person singular.

It is important to take good notes while researching for your bio. It helps

Final Remarks

 Writing a short bio is probably one of the best ways to spend your time as a writer because it allows you to learn about someone’s life and use that information as inspiration for your own work. Plus, biographies also sell well and sometimes become best-sellers so that they can make you a lot of money.

The main thing you have to remember is that writing a good bio takes time and effort, so if you are committed to learning about someone’s life, then don’t give up at the first sign of trouble or boredom. If you enjoy writing bios, then it won’t take long before your name becomes synonymous with the genre, and you will become so busy that your only choice will be to write faster.

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