Writing Tips

How to Write a Biography



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If you wish to write your own biography then the first thing you have to decide is whether you're going to write your whole life story or a particular part of your life.

Is there a certain aspect to your life that makes one period of it more interesting than the rest? Perhaps you're a musician, an actor, a vicar or maybe you've had a life-threatening experience. Maybe you're gay or physically disabled. Whatever things have happened in your life you must decide if you're going to devote your book to this period or whether you want to write from the time you were born to the present day?

In my view the best way to write your whole life story, is to decide what you are going to put into each chapter. Perhaps it could be divided as follows:

1. Birth and pre school years from what you remember or have been told.
2. School years. Sub divisions: Did you have lots of friends, were you bullied?
3. Teen years. Sub divisions: Exams, love, relationship with parents.
4. First love
5. First job and career years
6. Marriage and your experiences within marriage
7. Children. Your experiences of childbirth and bringing up children
8. Retirement, how ending your working life affected you
9. Life after retirement. Sub divisions: Has it been good or bad? Is your life full? What you do with your life now?
10. Any big events that have occurred in your life such as, health issues, winning the lottery, taking a trip around the world, losing a loved one. How did you feel during and after these events.

Each of these periods of your life can be subdivided into the various things that were happening to you during those particular years.

Whatever experiences you have had in your life can be woven around the everyday living part of your story.

As you think back over certain stages of your life your memory will trigger other memories. Once you get going it's surprising what you do remember. Write them all down in a list that you can refer to later.

Talk to other people, such as parents, brothers, sisters and friends. Ask them to tell you all they can remember about you or what was happening around you at a particular time. Sometimes other people remember things that you may have forgotten.

Get out all your family photographs. Think back to when they were taken and think about what was happening to you at that time. Think about the clothes you're wearing in the photos, your hairstyles, your surroundings, the other people in the photos. All these things are little bits of information about you.

When you have done all this you should have quite a long list of memories and thoughts. Sort them into periods of your life.

It's not necessary to start at the beginning of your life when writing. Once you have planned the sections of your book you can start at any point you wish. The beginning, the end, the middle, it doesn't matter which; all that matters is that you start. Maybe one area of your life is more exciting for you. Start with that part first to get you going.

Remember that this is your life you are writing about and you have to make it interesting so other people will want to read about you. Hopefully there's some happiness in your story and probably some sadness too. Make your readers feel your happiness and sadness. Help them to experience the things that you have gone through in your life. By the end of the book they should feel they know you.




 

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