Writing any paper starts with writing an outline. The same is with writing a biography. The outline helps you stay on the right track as well as keep your thoughts and ideas organized. Basically, in any biography you talk about a person and what he or she is famous for, how this person got to where he or she is now, about their personal life and achievements. Actually, when I was applying for a job in one of the governmental institutions, I was asked to write my biography. This task is an easy one simply because the only person who truly knows all of me is me. But this could also be a problem since I could go overboard and write a character biography instead of my professional bio. That is why creating an outline was a solution to my problem. Below, I included a couple of templates I came up with while writing my own biography.
BIOGRAPHY OUTLINE TEMPLATE #1
- Early life
- Place and date of birth
- This person’s parents and what they do/did
- Place of living and school
- Further education, if applicable
- First and other jobs
- Name of person’s wife(s)/husband(s) and date of marriage, if applicable
- Number and name of children, if any
- Place of living
- What this person is famous for
- When he/she first become interested in this field
- When he/she was first recognized
- Most important events
- Most challenging and exciting times
- Trips abroad and people he/she met, if any
- Awards, if any
- Current life (if this person is still alive)
- Current place of living
- What he/she is doing now
- Upcoming important event
- Later life (if this person isn’t alive now)
- Things he/she did at the end of his/her life
- Place and date of death
- Place of burial
- Author’s feeling about this person
- Kind of feelings and why you feel them
- Your thoughts on his/her most important things
BIOGRAPHY OUTLINE TEMPLATE #2
- Things and reasons for his/her fame
- Date and place of birth
- A couple of important events that happened in his/her childhood
- Influences and challenges
- People, events, or/and ideas that affected this person
- The most important decisions
- Challenges and how he/she overcame them
- Achievements and accomplishments
- The most important things he/she did
- What and/or who helped him/her succeed
- Influence of this person on his/her contemporaries and the entire world
- How this person affects you personally
BIOGRAPHY OUTLINE TEMPLATE #3
- Early life
- Name, date and place of birth
- Family background
- Hobbies and interests
- Two or three important childhood events or facts
- Education, career and accomplishments
- Date and place of studying and major
- What kind of jobs he/she did and what made him/her famous
- Achievements, awards and other facts
- Later life
- Marriage and children
- Some interesting facts
- Date and place of death
On the whole, writing an outline is the art of preciseness and figuring out the most essential things out of tons of information. You, basically, summarize what you want to say by using bullets, letters, or numbers or all the mentioned. And remember not to write whole sentences or paragraphs for one point. Be precise and use only phrases that emphasize the most important things, events, etc. but if you don’t have time to create your own outline, feel free to use biography outline templates from the above.
FROM THE WEB
Write a Biography
How to pick a subject, research, and write a profile for class.
PART I: BRAINSTORM
Biography means "writing about life." The key to writing a good biography is picking a good subject who has lead an interesting life. While it may be tempting to write about your favorite celebrity, you are strongly encouraged to select someone who has lived an important life and made a lasting contribution to the world.
People you are familiar with are also good subjects for profiles. They are easily accessible for interviews. Also, you can easily interview others about them.
Step 1: Make a list of 10 possible subjects for your biography. Think about all the people in the world who fascinate you. Examples:
- Bill Clinton (former President)
- William Shakespeare (famous writer)
- Serena Williams (famous athlete)
- Your principal
- Queen Elizabeth (famous queen)
- Albert Einstein (famous scientist)
- One of your teachers
- Frida Kahlo (famous painter)
- A relative
- A mentor
Step 2: Choose three people from your list who seem like the best candidates for a biography.
Step 3: Run a quick search on the Internet to see how much information you can easily find about your three candidates.
Note: For people in your communitysuch as your principal or teacherthe Internet will not be a helpful research tool. You will have to talk to the person directly to see how much info you can quickly find out.
Step 4: Answer the following questions for each of your three candidates (yes or no).
- Is the person's life worth writing about?
- Do you feel strongly about the person?
- Has the person made a difference in the world?
- Does the person fascinate you?
- Does the person's life make a good story?
Step 5: Which person's life stands out as the best story? That's your subject!
PART II: RESEARCH
Now that you've selected a subject, the real fun begins! Biographical research is like detective work. Your assignment: Uncover fun facts about your subject!
To help you get started, we've provided you with a list of Research Resources.
Step 1: Visit the library to gather information about your subject. No detail is too small, no story too great! Take good notes! Investigate! You should browse:
- The Internet (See Research Resources)
- Newspaper articles
- Magazine articles and interviews
- History books
If your subject is a community member, dig up details through interviews.
- Interview your subject.
- Interview people who know your subject.
- Interview people who have an opinion about your subject.
Step 2: Track down basic facts about your subject, such as:
- Date of birth/death
- Place of origin
- Educational background
- Favorite books, music, art
Step 3: Find out which events shaped your subject's life, such as:
- Greatest accomplishments
- Worst failure
- Biggest obstacles overcome
- Lasting contribution to the world
Step 4: Find out which people influenced your subject's life:
- Most influential teacher
- Worst enemies
- Best friend(s)
- Heroes and role models
- Favorite family member
Step 5: Gather three quotations by and three quotations about your subject. Be accurate!
PART III: WRITE
Now that you've gathered enough facts and quotes, it's time to write!
Step 1: To help organize your biography, draw a time line of important events in your subject's life. Keep this handy when you begin to write. Include things like:
What is the most interesting thing you learned about your subject. That's where your story should begin. Work in the rest of the details as the story unfolds. Follow this basic outline for storytelling:
- Quote from or about your subject that backs up your lead.
- A paragraph that gives the who, what, where, why of your subject. This paragraph tells your readers what the story is about and why they should read it.
- Another quote from or about your subject.
- Several paragraphs that tell your storycan include more quotes.
- A conclusion that takes your readers back to the information in the first paragraph.
Not all biographies follow this format. This format is most often used by journalists writing news stories.
Step 2: Write a first draft of your biography.
- Be honest. Tell the truth about your subject, good and bad.
- Be accurate. Check facts by cross-referencing in other sources.
- Be clear. Always keep your readers in mind.
Step 3: Read your biography out loud. Answer the following questions:
- What new information have I learned about my subject?
- Is my story always clear? If not, where does it break down?
- What more would I like to know about my subject?
- Do the transitions between paragraphs make sense? Does the story flow from paragraph to paragraph without confusing the reader?
Step 4: Based on your answers, revise your biography.
- Check spelling and grammar.
- Check quotations for accuracy.
- Double check all facts.
Congratulations on finishing your biography!