Literacy Ideas

How to Write a Biography

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Biographies are big business. Whether in book form or Hollywood biopics, the lives of the famous and sometimes not-so-famous fascinate us.

While it’s true that most biographies are about people who are in the public eye, sometimes the subject is less well-known. Mostly though, famous or not, the person who is written about has led a life that is in some way incredible.

While your students will most likely have a basic understanding of a biography, it’s worth taking a little time before they put pen to paper to tease out a crystal clear definition of a biography.

Visual Writing Prompts

What Is a Biography?

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Simply put, a biography is an account of someone’s life written by someone else . While there is a genre known as a fictional biography, for the most part, biographies are, by definition, nonfiction.

Generally speaking, biographies provide an account of the subject’s life from the earliest days of their childhood right up to the present day or their death if the subject is deceased.

The job of a biography is more than just to outline the bare facts of a person’s life.

Rather than just listing the basic details of their upbringing, hobbies, education, work, relationships, and death, a well-written biography should also paint a picture of the subject’s personality, and as well as their experience of life.

A COMPLETE UNIT ON TEACHING BIOGRAPHIES

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Teach your students to write AMAZING BIOGRAPHIES & AUTOBIOGRAPHIES using proven RESEARCH SKILLS and WRITING STRATEGIES .

  • Understand the purpose of both forms of biography.
  • Explore the language and perspective of both.
  • Prompts and Challenges to engage students in writing a biography.
  • Dedicated lessons for both forms of biography.
  • Biographical Projects can expand students’ understanding of reading and writing a biography.
  • A COMPLETE 82-PAGE UNIT – NO PREPARATION REQUIRED.

What Are the Main Features of a Biography?

Before students begin writing a biography, they’ll need to have a firm grasp of the main features of the genre. A good way to determine how well they understand these essential elements of the genre is by asking them to compile a checklist.

At a minimum, their checklists should contain the items below. Be sure to help them fill in any gaps before moving on to the writing process.

The purpose of a biography is to provide an account of someone’s life.

Biography structure.

ORIENTATION (BEGINNING) Open your biography with a strong hook to grab the reader’s attention

SEQUENCING: In most cases, biographies are written in chronological order unless you are a very competent writer consciously trying to break from this trend.

COVER: childhood, upbringing, education, influences, accomplishments, relationships, etc. – everything that helps the reader to understand the person.

CONCLUSION: Wrap your biography up with some details about what the subject is doing now if they are still alive. If they have passed away, make mention of what impact they have made and what their legacy is or will be.

BIOGRAPHY FEATURES

LANGUAGE Use descriptive and figurative language that will paint images inside your audience’s minds as they read. Use time connectives to link events.

PERSPECTIVE Biographies are written from the third person’s perspective.

DETAILS: Give specific details about people, places, events, times, dates, etc. Reflect on how events shaped the subject. You might want to include some relevant photographs with captions. A timeline may also be of use depending upon your subject and what you are trying to convey to your audience.

TENSE Written in the past tense (though ending may shift to the present/future tense)

THE PROCESS OF WRITING A BIOGRAPHY

Like any form of writing, you will find it simple if you have a plan and follow it through. These steps will ensure you cover the essential bases of writing a biography essay.

Firstly, select a subject that inspires you. Someone whose life story resonates with you and whose contribution to society intrigues you. The next step is to conduct thorough research. Engage in extensive reading, explore various sources, watch documentaries, and glean all available information to provide a comprehensive account of the person’s life.

Creating an outline is essential to organize your thoughts and information. The outline should include the person’s early life, education, career, achievements, and any other significant events or contributions. It serves as a map for the writing process, ensuring that all vital information is included.

Your biography should have an engaging introduction that captivates the reader’s attention and provides background information on the person you’re writing about. It should include a thesis statement that summarizes the main points of the biography.

Writing a biography in chronological order is crucial . You should begin with the person’s early life and move through their career and achievements. This approach provides clarity on how the person’s life unfolded and how they accomplished their goals.

A biography should be written in a narrative style , capturing the essence of the person’s life through vivid descriptions, anecdotes, and quotes. Avoid dry, factual writing and focus on creating a compelling narrative that engages the reader.

Adding personal insights and opinions can enhance the biography’s overall impact, providing a unique perspective on the person’s achievements, legacy, and impact on society.

Editing and proofreading are vital elements of the writing process. Thoroughly reviewing your biography ensures that the writing is clear, concise, and error-free. You can even request feedback from someone else to ensure that it is engaging and well-written.

Finally, including a bibliography at the end of your biography is essential. It gives credit to the sources that were used during research, such as books, articles, interviews, and websites.

Tips for Writing a Brilliant Biography

Biography writing tip #1: choose your subject wisely.

There are several points for students to reflect on when deciding on a subject for their biography. Let’s take a look at the most essential points to consider when deciding on the subject for a biography:

Interest: To produce a biography will require sustained writing from the student. That’s why students must choose their subject well. After all, a biography is an account of someone’s entire life to date. Students must ensure they choose a subject that will sustain their interest throughout the research, writing, and editing processes.

Merit: Closely related to the previous point, students must consider whether the subject merits the reader’s interest. Aside from pure labors of love, writing should be undertaken with the reader in mind. While producing a biography demands sustained writing from the author, it also demands sustained reading from the reader.

Therefore, students should ask themselves if their chosen subject has had a life worthy of the reader’s interest and the time they’d need to invest in reading their biography.

Information: Is there enough information available on the subject to fuel the writing of an entire biography? While it might be a tempting idea to write about a great-great-grandfather’s experience in the war. There would be enough interest there to sustain the author’s and the reader’s interest, but do you have enough access to information about their early childhood to do the subject justice in the form of a biography?

Biography Writing Tip #2: R esearch ! Research! Research!

While the chances are good that the student already knows quite a bit about the subject they’ve chosen. Chances are 100% that they’ll still need to undertake considerable research to write their biography.

As with many types of writing , research is an essential part of the planning process that shouldn’t be overlooked. If a student wishes to give as complete an account of their subject’s life as possible, they’ll need to put in the time at the research stage.

An effective way to approach the research process is to:

1. Compile a chronological timeline of the central facts, dates, and events of the subject’s life

2. Compile detailed descriptions of the following personal traits:

  •      Physical looks
  •      Character traits
  •      Values and beliefs

3. Compile some research questions based on different topics to provide a focus for the research:

  • Childhood : Where and when were they born? Who were their parents? Who were the other family members? What education did they receive?
  • Obstacles: What challenges did they have to overcome? How did these challenges shape them as individuals?
  • Legacy: What impact did this person have on the world and/or the people around them?
  • Dialogue & Quotes: Dialogue and quotations by and about the subject are a great way to bring color and life to a biography. Students should keep an eagle eye out for the gems that hide amid their sources.

As the student gets deeper into their research, new questions will arise that can further fuel the research process and help to shape the direction the biography will ultimately go in.

Likewise, during the research, themes will often begin to suggest themselves. Exploring these themes is essential to bring depth to biography, but we’ll discuss this later in this article.

Research Skills:

Researching for biography writing is an excellent way for students to hone their research skills in general. Developing good research skills is essential for future academic success. Students will have opportunities to learn how to:

  • Gather relevant information
  • Evaluate different information sources
  • Select suitable information
  • Organize information into a text.

Students will have access to print and online information sources, and, in some cases, they may also have access to people who knew or know the subject (e.g. biography of a family member).

These days, much of the research will likely take place online. It’s crucial, therefore, to provide your students with guidance on how to use the internet safely and evaluate online sources for reliability. This is the era of ‘ fake news ’ and misinformation after all!

COMPLETE TEACHING UNIT ON INTERNET RESEARCH SKILLS USING GOOGLE SEARCH

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Teach your students ESSENTIAL SKILLS OF THE INFORMATION ERA to become expert DIGITAL RESEARCHERS.

⭐How to correctly ask questions to search engines on all devices.

⭐ How to filter and refine your results to find exactly what you want every time.

⭐ Essential Research and critical thinking skills for students.

⭐ Plagiarism, Citing and acknowledging other people’s work.

⭐ How to query, synthesize and record your findings logically.

BIOGRAPHY WRITING Tip #3: Find Your Themes In Biography Writing

Though predominantly a nonfiction genre, the story still plays a significant role in good biography writing. The skills of characterization and plot structuring are transferable here. And, just like in fiction, exploring themes in a biographical work helps connect the personal to the universal. Of course, these shouldn’t be forced; this will make the work seem contrived, and the reader may lose faith in the truthfulness of the account. A biographer needs to gain and maintain the trust of the reader.

Fortunately, themes shouldn’t need to be forced. A life well-lived is full of meaning, and the themes the student writer is looking for will emerge effortlessly from the actions and events of the subject’s life. It’s just a case of learning how to spot them.

One way to identify the themes in a life is to look for recurring events or situations in a person’s life. These should be apparent from the research completed previously. The students should seek to identify these patterns that emerge in the subject’s life. For example, perhaps they’ve had to overcome various obstacles throughout different periods of their life. In that case, the theme of overcoming adversity is present and has been identified.

Usually, a biography has several themes running throughout, so be sure your students work to identify more than one theme in their subject’s life.

BIOGRAPHY WRITING Tip: #4 Put Something of Yourself into the Writing

While the defining feature of a biography is that it gives an account of a person’s life, students must understand that this is not all a biography does. Relating the facts and details of a subject’s life is not enough. The student biographer should not be afraid to share their thoughts and feelings with the reader throughout their account of their subject’s life.

The student can weave some of their personality into the fabric of the text by providing commentary and opinion as they relate the events of the person’s life and the wider social context at the time. Unlike the detached and objective approach we’d expect to find in a history textbook, in a biography, student-writers should communicate their enthusiasm for their subject in their writing.

This makes for a more intimate experience for the reader, as they get a sense of getting to know the author and the subject they are writing about.

Student Examples of Biography Writing

  • Year 5 Example
  • Year 7 Example
  • Year 9 Example

“The Rock ‘n’ Roll King: Elvis Presley”

Elvis Aaron Presley, born on January 8, 1935, was an amazing singer and actor known as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Even though he’s been dead for nearly 50 years, I can’t help but be fascinated by his incredible life!

Elvis grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, in a tiny house with his parents and twin brother. His family didn’t have much money, but they shared a love for music. Little did they know Elvis would become a music legend!

When he was only 11 years old, Elvis got his first guitar. He taught himself to play and loved singing gospel songs. As he got older, he started combining different music styles like country, blues, and gospel to create a whole new sound – that’s Rock ‘n’ Roll!

In 1954, at the age of 19, Elvis recorded his first song, “That’s All Right.” People couldn’t believe how unique and exciting his music was. His famous hip-swinging dance moves also made him a sensation!

Elvis didn’t just rock the music scene; he also starred in movies like “Love Me Tender” and “Jailhouse Rock.” But fame came with challenges. Despite facing ups and downs, Elvis kept spreading happiness through his music.

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Tragically, Elvis passed away in 1977, but his music and charisma live on. Even today, people worldwide still enjoy his songs like “Hound Dog” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Elvis Presley’s legacy as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll will live forever.

Long Live the King: I wish I’d seen him.

Elvis Presley, the Rock ‘n’ Roll legend born on January 8, 1935, is a captivating figure that even a modern-day teen like me can’t help but admire. As I delve into his life, I wish I could have experienced the magic of his live performances.

Growing up in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis faced challenges but found solace in music. At 11, he got his first guitar, a symbol of his journey into the world of sound. His fusion of gospel, country, and blues into Rock ‘n’ Roll became a cultural phenomenon.

The thought of being in the audience during his early performances, especially when he recorded “That’s All Right” at 19, sends shivers down my spine. Imagining the crowd’s uproar and feeling the revolutionary energy of that moment is a dream I wish I could have lived.

Elvis wasn’t just a musical prodigy; he was a dynamic performer. His dance moves, the embodiment of rebellion, and his roles in films like “Love Me Tender” and “Jailhouse Rock” made him a true icon.

After watching him on YouTube, I can’t help but feel a little sad that I’ll never witness the King’s live performances. The idea of swaying to “Hound Dog” or being enchanted by “Can’t Help Falling in Love” in person is a missed opportunity. Elvis may have left us in 1977, but he was the king of rock n’ roll. Long live the King!

Elvis Presley: A Teen’s Take on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Icon”

Elvis Presley, born January 8, 1935, was a revolutionary force in the music world, earning his title as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Exploring his life, even as a 16-year-old today, I’m captivated by the impact he made.

Hailing from Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis grew up in humble beginnings, surrounded by the love of his parents and twin brother. It’s inspiring to think that, despite financial challenges, this young man would redefine the music scene.

At 11, Elvis got his first guitar, sparking a self-taught journey into music. His early gospel influences evolved into a unique fusion of country, blues, and gospel, creating the electrifying genre of Rock ‘n’ Roll. In 1954, at only 19, he recorded “That’s All Right,” marking the birth of a musical legend.

Elvis wasn’t just a musical innovator; he was a cultural phenomenon. His rebellious dance moves and magnetic stage presence challenged the norms. He transitioned seamlessly into acting, starring in iconic films like “Love Me Tender” and “Jailhouse Rock.”

how to write a biography | Elvis Presley promoting Jailhouse Rock | How to Write a Biography | literacyideas.com

However, fame came at a cost, and Elvis faced personal struggles. Despite the challenges, his music continued to resonate. Even now, classics like “Hound Dog” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” transcend generations.

Elvis Presley’s impact on music and culture is undeniable. He was known for his unique voice, charismatic persona, and electrifying performances. He sold over one billion records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling solo artists in history. He received numerous awards throughout his career, including three Grammy Awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Elvis’s influence can still be seen in today’s music. Many contemporary artists, such as Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and Justin Timberlake, have cited Elvis as an inspiration. His music continues to be featured in movies, TV shows, and commercials.

Elvis left us in 1977, but his legacy lives on. I appreciate his breaking barriers and fearlessly embracing his artistic vision. Elvis Presley’s impact on music and culture is timeless, a testament to the enduring power of his artistry. His music has inspired generations and will continue to do so for many years to come.

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Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

BIOGRAPHY WRITING TEACHING IDEAS AND LESSONS

We have compiled a sequence of biography-related lessons or teaching ideas that you can follow as you please. They are straightforward enough for most students to follow without further instruction.

BIOGRAPHY LESSON IDEA # 1:

This session aims to give students a broader understanding of what makes a good biography.

Once your students have compiled a comprehensive checklist of the main features of a biography, allow them to use it to assess some biographies from your school library or on the internet using the feature checklist.

When students have assessed a selection of biographies, take some time as a class to discuss them. You can base the discussion around the following prompts:

  • Which biographies covered all the criteria from their checklist?
  • Which biographies didn’t?
  • Which biography was the most readable in terms of structure?
  • Which biography do you think was the least well-structured? How would you improve this?

Looking at how other writers have interpreted the form will help students internalize the necessary criteria before attempting to produce a biography. Once students have a clear understanding of the main features of the biography, they’re ready to begin work on writing a biography.

When the time does come to put pen to paper, be sure they’re armed with the following top tips to help ensure they’re as well prepared as possible.

BIOGRAPHY LESSON IDEA # 2:

This session aims to guide students through the process of selecting the perfect biography subject.

Instruct students to draw up a shortlist of three potential subjects for the biography they’ll write.

Using the three criteria mentioned in the writing guide (Interest, Merit, and Information), students award each potential subject a mark out of 5 for each of the criteria. In this manner, students can select the most suitable subject for their biography.

BIOGRAPHY LESSON IDEA # 3:

This session aims to get students into the researching phase and then prioritise events and organise them chronologically.

Students begin by making a timeline of their subject’s life, starting with their birth and ending with their death or the present day. If the student has yet to make a final decision on the subject of their biography, a family member will often serve well for this exercise as a practice exercise.

Students should research and gather the key events of the person’s life, covering each period of their life from when they were a baby, through childhood and adolescence, right up to adulthood and old age. They should then organize these onto a timeline. Students can include photographs with captions if they have them.

They can present these to the class when they have finished their timelines.

BIOGRAPHY LESSON IDEA # 4:

Instruct students to look over their timeline, notes, and other research. Challenge them to identify three patterns that repeat throughout the subject’s life and sort all the related events and incidents into specific categories.

Students should then label each category with a single word. This is the thematic concept or the broad general underlying idea. After that, students should write a sentence or two expressing what the subject’s life ‘says’ about that concept.

This is known as the thematic statement . With the thematic concepts and thematic statements identified, the student now has some substantial ideas to explore that will help bring more profound meaning and wider resonance to their biography.

BIOGRAPHY LESSON IDEA # 5:

Instruct students to write a short objective account of an event in their own life. They can write about anyone from their past. It needn’t be more than a couple of paragraphs, but the writing should be strictly factual, focusing only on the objective details of what happened.

Once they have completed this, it’s time to rewrite the paragraph, but they should include some opinion and personal commentary this time.

The student here aims to inject some color and personality into their writing, to transform a detached, factual account into a warm, engaging story.

Biography Graphic Organizer

Get our FREE Biography Writing Graphic Organizer

Use this valuable tool in the research and writing phases to keep your students on track and engaged.

WRITING CHECKLIST & RUBRIC BUNDLE

writing checklists

To Conclude

By this stage, your students should have an excellent technical overview of a biography’s essential elements.

They should be able to choose their subject in light of how interesting and worthy they are, as well as give consideration to the availability of information out there. They should be able to research effectively and identify emerging themes in their research notes. And finally, they should be able to bring some of their personality and uniqueness into their retelling of the life of another.

Remember that writing a biography is not only a great way to develop a student’s writing skills; it can be used in almost all curriculum areas. For example, to find out more about a historical figure in History, to investigate scientific contributions to Science, or to celebrate a hero from everyday life.

Biography is an excellent genre for students to develop their writing skills and to find inspiration in the lives of others in the world around them.

HOW TO WRITE A BIOGRAPHY TUTORIAL VIDEO

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Blog • Perfecting your Craft

Posted on Jun 30, 2023

How to Write a Biography: A 7-Step Guide [+Template]

From time to time, nonfiction authors become so captivated by a particular figure from either the present or the past, that they feel compelled to write an entire book about their life. Whether casting them as heroes or villains, there is an interesting quality in their humanity that compels these authors to revisit their life paths and write their story.

However, portraying someone’s life on paper in a comprehensive and engaging way requires solid preparation. If you’re looking to write a biography yourself, in this post we’ll share a step-by-step blueprint that you can follow. 

How to write a biography: 

1. Seek permission when possible 

2. research your subject thoroughly, 3. do interviews and visit locations, 4. organize your findings, 5. identify a central thesis, 6. write it using narrative elements, 7. get feedback and polish the text.

FREE RESOURCE

FREE RESOURCE

Biography Outline Template

Craft a satisfying story arc for your biography with our free template.

While you technically don’t need permission to write about public figures (or deceased ones), that doesn't guarantee their legal team won't pursue legal action against you. Author Kitty Kelley was sued by Frank Sinatra before she even started to write His Way , a biography that paints Ol Blue Eyes in a controversial light. (Kelley ended up winning the lawsuit, however).  

biography sentence making

Whenever feasible, advise the subject’s representatives of your intentions. If all goes according to plan, you’ll get a green light to proceed, or potentially an offer to collaborate. It's a matter of common sense; if someone were to write a book about you, you would likely want to know about it well prior to publication. So, make a sincere effort to reach out to their PR staff to negotiate an agreement or at least a mutual understanding of the scope of your project. 

At the same time, make sure that you still retain editorial control over the project, and not end up writing a puff piece that treats its protagonist like a saint or hero. No biography can ever be entirely objective, but you should always strive for a portrayal that closely aligns with facts and reality.

If you can’t get an answer from your subject, or you’re asked not to proceed forward, you can still accept the potential repercussions and write an unauthorized biography . The “rebellious act” of publishing without consent indeed makes for great marketing, though it’ll likely bring more headaches with it too. 

✋ Please note that, like other nonfiction books, if you intend to release your biography with a publishing house , you can put together a book proposal to send to them before you even write the book. If they like it enough, they might pay you an advance to write it.  

FREE RESOURCE

Book Proposal Template

Craft a professional pitch for your nonfiction book with our handy template.

Once you’ve settled (or not) the permission part, it’s time to dive deep into your character’s story.  

Deep and thorough research skills are the cornerstone of every biographer worth their salt. To paint a vivid and accurate portrait of someone's life, you’ll have to gather qualitative information from a wide range of reliable sources. 

Start with the information already available, from books on your subject to archival documents, then collect new ones firsthand by interviewing people or traveling to locations. 

Browse the web and library archives

Illustration of a biographer going into research mode.

Put your researcher hat on and start consuming any piece on your subject you can find, from their Wikipedia page to news articles, interviews, TV and radio appearances, YouTube videos, podcasts, books, magazines, and any other media outlets they may have been featured in. 

Establish a system to orderly collect the information you find 一 even seemingly insignificant details can prove valuable during the writing process, so be sure to save them. 

Depending on their era, you may find most of the information readily available online, or you may need to search through university libraries for older references. 

Photo of Alexander Hamilton

For his landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow spent untold hours at Columbia University’s library , reading through the Hamilton family papers, visiting the New York Historical Society, as well as interviewing the archivist of the New York Stock Exchange, and so on. The research process took years, but it certainly paid off. Chernow discovered that Hamilton created the first five securities originally traded on Wall Street. This finding, among others, revealed his significant contributions to shaping the current American financial and political systems, a legacy previously often overshadowed by other founding fathers. Today Alexander Hamilton is one of the best-selling biographies of all time, and it has become a cultural phenomenon with its own dedicated musical. 

Besides reading documents about your subject, research can help you understand the world that your subject lived in. 

Try to understand their time and social environment

Many biographies show how their protagonists have had a profound impact on society through their philosophical, artistic, or scientific contributions. But at the same time, it’s worth it as a biographer to make an effort to understand how their societal and historical context influenced their life’s path and work.

An interesting example is Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World . Finding himself limited by a lack of verified detail surrounding William Shakespeare's personal life, Greenblatt, instead, employs literary interpretation and imaginative reenactments to transport readers back to the Elizabethan era. The result is a vivid (though speculative) depiction of the playwright's life, enriching our understanding of his world.

Painting of William Shakespeare in colors

Many readers enjoy biographies that transport them to a time and place, so exploring a historical period through the lens of a character can be entertaining in its own right. The Diary of Samuel Pepys became a classic not because people were enthralled by his life as an administrator, but rather from his meticulous and vivid documentation of everyday existence during the Restoration period.

Once you’ve gotten your hands on as many secondary sources as you can find, you’ll want to go hunting for stories first-hand from people who are (or were) close to your subject.

With all the material you’ve been through, by now you should already have a pretty good picture of your protagonist. But you’ll surely have some curiosities and missing dots in their character arc to figure out, which you can only get by interviewing primary sources.

Interview friends and associates

This part is more relevant if your subject is contemporary, and you can actually meet up or call with relatives, friends, colleagues, business partners, neighbors, or any other person related to them. 

In writing the popular biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson interviewed more than one hundred people, including Jobs’s family, colleagues, former college mates, business rivals, and the man himself.

🔍 Read other biographies to get a sense of what makes a great one. Check out our list of the 30 best biographies of all time , or take our 30-second quiz below for tips on which one you should read next. 

Which biography should you read next?

Discover the perfect biography for you. Takes 30 seconds!

When you conduct your interviews, make sure to record them with high quality audio you can revisit later. Then use tools like Otter.ai or Descript to transcribe them 一 it’ll save you countless hours. 

You can approach the interview with a specific set of questions, or follow your curiosity blindly, trying to uncover revealing stories and anecdotes about your subject. Whatever your method, author and biography editor Tom Bromley suggests that every interviewer arrives prepared, "Show that you’ve done your work. This will help to put the interviewee at ease, and get their best answers.” 

Bromley also places emphasis on the order in which you conduct interviews. “You may want to interview different members of the family or friends first, to get their perspective on something, and then go directly to the main interviewee. You'll be able to use that knowledge to ask sharper, more specific questions.” 

Finally, consider how much time you have with each interviewee. If you only have a 30-minute phone call with an important person, make it count by asking directly the most pressing questions you have. And, if you find a reliable source who is also particularly willing to help, conduct several interviews and ask them, if appropriate, to write a foreword as part of the book’s front matter .

Sometimes an important part of the process is packing your bags, getting on a plane, and personally visiting significant places in your character’s journey.

Visit significant places in their life

A place, whether that’s a city, a rural house, or a bodhi tree, can carry a particular energy that you can only truly experience by being there. In putting the pieces together about someone’s life, it may be useful to go visit where they grew up, or where other significant events of their lives happened. It will be easier to imagine what they experienced, and better tell their story. 

In researching The Lost City of Z , author David Grann embarked on a trek through the Amazon, retracing the steps of British explorer Percy Fawcett. This led Grann to develop new theories about the circumstances surrounding the explorer's disappearance.

Still from the movie The Lost City of Z in which the explorer is surrounded by an Amazon native tribe

Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with jaguars and anacondas to better understand your subject’s environment, but try to walk into their shoes as much as possible. 

Once you’ve researched your character enough, it’s time to put together all the puzzle pieces you collected so far. 

Take the bulk of notes, media, and other documents you’ve collected, and start to give them some order and structure. A simple way to do this is by creating a timeline. 

Create a chronological timeline

It helps to organize your notes chronologically 一 from childhood to the senior years, line up the most significant events of your subject’s life, including dates, places, names and other relevant bits. 

Timeline of Steve Jobs' career

You should be able to divide their life into distinct periods, each with their unique events and significance. Based on that, you can start drafting an outline of the narrative you want to create.  

Draft a story outline 

Since a biography entails writing about a person’s entire life, it will have a beginning, a middle, and an end. You can pick where you want to end the story, depending on how consequential the last years of your subject were. But the nature of the work will give you a starting character arc to work with. 

To outline the story then, you could turn to the popular Three-Act Structure , which divides the narrative in three main parts. In a nutshell, you’ll want to make sure to have the following:

  • Act 1. Setup : Introduce the protagonist's background and the turning points that set them on a path to achieve a goal. 
  • Act 2. Confrontation : Describe the challenges they encounter, both internal and external, and how they rise to them. Then..
  • Act 3. Resolution : Reach a climactic point in their story in which they succeed (or fail), showing how they (and the world around them) have changed as a result. 

Only one question remains before you begin writing: what will be the main focus of your biography?

Think about why you’re so drawn to your subject to dedicate years of your life to recounting their own. What aspect of their life do you want to highlight? Is it their evil nature, artistic genius, or visionary mindset? And what evidence have you got to back that up? Find a central thesis or focus to weave as the main thread throughout your narrative. 

Cover of Hitler and Stalin by Alan Bullock

Or find a unique angle

If you don’t have a particular theme to explore, finding a distinct angle on your subject’s story can also help you distinguish your work from other biographies or existing works on the same subject.

Plenty of biographies have been published about The Beatles 一 many of which have different focuses and approaches: 

  • Philip Norman's Shout is sometimes regarded as leaning more towards a pro-Lennon and anti-McCartney stance, offering insights into the band's inner dynamics. 
  • Ian McDonald's Revolution in the Head closely examines their music track by track, shifting the focus back to McCartney as a primary creative force. 
  • Craig Brown's One Two Three Four aims to capture their story through anecdotes, fan letters, diary entries, and interviews. 
  • Mark Lewisohn's monumental three-volume biography, Tune In , stands as a testament to over a decade of meticulous research, chronicling every intricate detail of the Beatles' journey.

Group picture of The Beatles

Finally, consider that biographies are often more than recounting the life of a person. Similar to how Dickens’ Great Expectations is not solely about a boy named Pip (but an examination and critique of Britain’s fickle, unforgiving class system), a biography should strive to illuminate a broader truth — be it social, political, or human — beyond the immediate subject of the book. 

Once you’ve identified your main focus or angle, it’s time to write a great story. 

Illustration of a writer mixing storytelling ingredients

While biographies are often highly informative, they do not have to be dry and purely expository in nature . You can play with storytelling elements to make it an engaging read. 

You could do that by thoroughly detailing the setting of the story , depicting the people involved in the story as fully-fledged characters , or using rising action and building to a climax when describing a particularly significant milestone of the subject’s life. 

One common way to make a biography interesting to read is starting on a strong foot…

Hook the reader from the start

Just because you're honoring your character's whole life doesn't mean you have to begin when they said their first word. Starting from the middle or end of their life can be more captivating as it introduces conflicts and stakes that shaped their journey.

When he wrote about Christopher McCandless in Into the Wild , author Jon Krakauer didn’t open his subject’s childhood and abusive family environment. Instead, the book begins with McCandless hitchhiking his way into the wilderness, and subsequently being discovered dead in an abandoned bus. By starting in medias res , Krakauer hooks the reader’s interest, before tracing back the causes and motivations that led McCandless to die alone in that bus in the first place.

Chris McCandless self-portrait in front of the now iconic bus

You can bend the timeline to improve the reader’s reading experience throughout the rest of the story too…

Play with flashback 

While biographies tend to follow a chronological narrative, you can use flashbacks to tell brief stories or anecdotes when appropriate. For example, if you were telling the story of footballer Lionel Messi, before the climax of winning the World Cup with Argentina, you could recall when he was just 13 years old, giving an interview to a local newspaper, expressing his lifelong dream of playing for the national team. 

Used sparsely and intentionally, flashbacks can add more context to the story and keep the narrative interesting. Just like including dialogue does…

Reimagine conversations

Recreating conversations that your subject had with people around them is another effective way to color the story. Dialogue helps the reader imagine the story like a movie, providing a deeper sensory experience. 

biography sentence making

One thing is trying to articulate the root of Steve Jobs’ obsession with product design, another would be to quote his father , teaching him how to build a fence when he was young: “You've got to make the back of the fence just as good looking as the front of the fence. Even though nobody will see it, you will know. And that will show that you're dedicated to making something perfect.”

Unlike memoirs and autobiographies, in which the author tells the story from their personal viewpoint and enjoys greater freedom to recall conversations, biographies require a commitment to facts. So, when recreating dialogue, try to quote directly from reliable sources like personal diaries, emails, and text messages. You could also use your interview scripts as an alternative to dialogue. As Tom Bromley suggests, “If you talk with a good amount of people, you can try to tell the story from their perspective, interweaving different segments and quoting the interviewees directly.”

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These are just some of the story elements you can use to make your biography more compelling. Once you’ve finished your manuscript, it’s a good idea to ask for feedback. 

If you’re going to self-publish your biography, you’ll have to polish it to professional standards. After leaving your work to rest for a while, look at it with fresh eyes and self-edit your manuscript eliminating passive voice, filler words, and redundant adverbs. 

Illustration of an editor reviewing a manuscript

Then, have a professional editor give you a general assessment. They’ll look at the structure and shape of your manuscript and tell you which parts need to be expanded on or cut. As someone who edited and commissioned several biographies, Tom Bromley points out that a professional “will look at the sources used and assess whether they back up the points made, or if more are needed. They would also look for context, and whether or not more background information is needed for the reader to understand the story fully. And they might check your facts, too.”  

In addition to structural editing, you may want to have someone copy-edit and proofread your work.

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Importantly, make sure to include a bibliography with a list of all the interviews, documents, and sources used in the writing process. You’ll have to compile it according to a manual of style, but you can easily create one by using tools like EasyBib . Once the text is nicely polished and typeset in your writing software , you can prepare for the publication process.  

In conclusion, by mixing storytelling elements with diligent research, you’ll be able to breathe life into a powerful biography that immerses readers in another individual’s life experience. Whether that’ll spark inspiration or controversy, remember you could have an important role in shaping their legacy 一 and that’s something not to take lightly. 

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How to Write an Interesting Biography

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A biography is a written account of the series of events that make up a person's life. Some of those events are going to be pretty boring, so you'll need to try to make your account as interesting as possible!

Every student will write a biography at some point, but the level of detail and sophistication will differ. A fourth grade biography will be much different from a middle school-level biography or a high school or college-level biography.

However, each biography will include the basic details. The first information you should gather in your research will include biographical details and facts. You must use a trustworthy resource to ensure that your information is accurate.

Using research note cards , collect the following data, carefully recording the source for each piece of information:

Including Basic Details

  • Date and place of birth and death
  • Family information
  • Lifetime accomplishments
  • Major events of life
  • Effects/impact on society, historical significance

While this information is necessary to your project, these dry facts, on their own, don't really make a very good biography. Once you've found these basics, you'll want to dig a little deeper.

You choose a certain person because you think he or she is interesting, so you certainly don't want to burden your paper with an inventory of boring facts. Your goal is to impress your reader!

Start off with great first sentence . It's a good idea to begin with a really interesting statement, a little-known fact, or really intriguing event.

You should avoid starting out with a standard but boring line like:

"Meriwether Lewis was born in Virginia in 1774."

Instead, try starting with something like this:

"Late one afternoon in October, 1809, Meriwether Lewis arrived at a small log cabin nestled deep in the Tennessee Mountains. By sunrise on the following day, he was dead, having suffered gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

You'll have to make sure your beginning is motivating, but it should also be relevant. The next sentence or two should lead into your thesis statement , or main message of your biography.

"It was a tragic end to a life that had so deeply affected the course of history in the United States. Meriwether Lewis, a driven and often tormented soul, led an expedition of discovery that expanded a young nation's economic potential, increased its scientific understanding, and enhanced its worldwide reputation."

Now that you've created an impressive beginning , you'll want to continue the flow. Find more intriguing details about the man and his work, and weave them into the composition.

Examples of Interesting Details:

  • Some people believed that Lewis and Clark would encounter elephants in the western wilderness, having misunderstood the wooly mammoth bones discovered in the United States.
  • The expedition resulted in the discovery and description of 122 new animal species and subspecies.
  • Lewis was a hypochondriac.
  • His death is still an unsolved mystery, although it was ruled a suicide.

You can find interesting facts by consulting diverse sources.

Fill the body of your biography with material that gives insight into your subject's personality. For instance, in a biography about Meriwether Lewis, you would ask what traits or events motivated him to embark on such a monumental exercise.

Questions to Consider in Your Biography:

  • Was there something in your subject's childhood that shaped his/her personality?
  • Was there a personality trait that drove him/her to succeed or impeded his progress?
  • What adjectives would you use to describe him/her?
  • What were some turning points in this life?
  • What was his/her impact on history?

Be sure to use transitional phrases and words to link your paragraphs and make your composition paragraphs flow . It is normal for good writers to re-arrange their sentences to create a better paper.

The final paragraph will summarize your main points and re-assert your main claim about your subject. It should point out your main points, re-name the person you're writing about, but it should not repeat specific examples.

As always, proofread your paper and check for errors. Create a bibliography and title page according to your teacher's instructions. Consult a style guide for proper documentation.

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How to write a strong one-line biography (with examples!)

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As a blogger or content marketer, you’re spreading your content across the internet to build your name as a thought leader and to drive traffic back to your (or your client’s) website.

One of the best ways to do this is via a strong biography, where sites will often allow you to also link back to somewhere. But you need to get their interest to learn more, so you need a strong one-line biography as most sites will only allow a short biography.

Here’s how you write a strong one-line biography for your blog author page:

Write in 3rd person

Highlight your role/profession.

  • Keep it short

Include a call to action

Biographies should be written in third person. Instead of “I am a serial entrepreneur…” you should write “John is a serial entrepreneur…”

Some publications may have different guidelines, in which case you should follow them, but as a general guideline always write your bio in 3rd person.

Your bio should tell readers who you are and what you do, so be sure to highlight your role or profession.

“John is a serial entrepreneur and digital marketing veteran who…”

This gives people more information about you, why you are qualified to be talking about the topic you are bylined on, and helps them decide if they want to click your link to learn more.

Don’t be afraid to brag a little bit! In our world of fake humility, finding someone who is willing to state what they’ve done can be refreshing and encourage them to click to learn more about you.

Don’t overdo it though. A quick interesting fact is usually more than enough to get them interested.

For example:

“John is a serial entrepreneur and digital marketing leader who via his company Credo has generated over a quarter billion dollars in leads for agencies since 2015.”

The lead value number is a brag, but it’s also true and lets people know that John knows what he’s doing.

Have some fun!

In today’s social media world, people want to connect with the person behind the account.

So don’t be afraid to use emojis or a bit of humor.

This advice does not carry over to a professional website like LinkedIn where people are more professional and you should present your best face to the world.

Keep it short, but readable

If you’re required to keep your biography to just one sentence, you have just 15 to 20 words on average to get your point across. You need to be succinct and make every word count.

As such, remove superlatives and flowery language that could make it harder to read. This is not the place to be cute or show off – it’s the place to communicate effectively.

Include a backlink/hyperlink

Most websites where you publish will allow you to link back to a site of your choice from your biography. Don’t be spammy and try to link back to multiple places – link to a place where people can find out more about you or your company easily.

Finally, include a call to action (CTA) if you have enough space and can work it in. At minimum, make sure you follow the above advice and include a hyperlink back to your main website where people can learn more about you or your business.

Some examples

Here are some examples of great bios.

Dan Martell (Instagram)

Dan Martell is a coach to software founders, an entrepreneur with 3 business exits, an award-winning angel investor, and a proud dad and husband.

How do we know this? Because he says so in his Instagram bio. Short and effective.

biography sentence making

Kimberly Bryant

Kimberly Bryant is the founder of Black Girls Code , a company that “build[s] pathways for young women of color to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders and creators by introducing them to skills in computer programming and technology.” Here is her Twitter biography, which clearly states what she does and gives insight into who she is.

biography sentence making

Chris Ducker

Chris Ducker is a UK-based entrepreneur who “helps midlife leaders and entrepreneurs build future proof businesses around their expertise” with his Youpreneur coaching program.

biography sentence making

Pat Flynn is a serial entrepreneur, dad, and husband who also has a physical product and a Pokemon card side hustle with over 100,000 YouTube subscribers. Here’s his Instagram profile:

biography sentence making

Rand Fishkin

Rand is also a serial entrepreneur and currently the CEO of Sparktoro, an audience insight software tool. He’s formerly the cofounder and CEO of Moz, an SEO software suite. His LinkedIn bio says succinctly what he does, and also adds a bit of personality to let you know what he believes.

biography sentence making

John Doherty

John is the founder and CEO of Credo and EditorNinja. (Hi, I’m John writing this!). His bio tells you what he cares about (his family and Colorado), what he does and the various projects he works on as well as his accomplishments.

biography sentence making

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7 Different Ways to Write a Great Biography

Ever considered writing a biography? Individual decisions and circumstances shape life stories, but so do biographers. By adapting set patterns, writers determine public opinion of their subject’s lives. Draw inspiration for a future project from this roundup of common approaches.

Journalists and media outlets love biographies, particularly when relatives or academics dispute the most controversial claims.

Some of the favorite topics are instantly familiar: Napoleon’s downfall, Churchill’s leadership, Diana’s letters and her lovers, Sylvia Plath’s relationship with Ted Hughes, the genius of Steve Jobs, and Alan Turing’s sexuality. Each worthy of separate, in-depth discussion. Each a delicate balance between sensationalism and historical interest.

Of course, the trademark combination of gossip and mythmaking has given biography a bad reputation. For some, it seems too much like rummaging through the paper bin, looking for someone’s bank statements or the shreds of a discarded missive.

Or else it seems like a dubious exercise in trying to draw life lessons from someone else’s fame and success, which might have been coincidental or undeserved.

Laying the Groundwork

Researching a biography involves a lot of borrowing and persuading. Anecdotes, interviews, letters and public records are the standard ingredients of every book biography, film biopic, or feature ‘based on a true story’. Getting hold of information may be difficult.

Relatives of the deceased may block access to the diary, friends of the family may demand cash for answering your questions, and obtaining permission to reproduce images will give you grey hairs. You may be overwhelmed by the quantity of books to plough through, or frustrated by the lack of data at your disposal.

“Composing the life requires speculation and interpretation. At times, you’ll marvel at what your subject achieved. Sometimes you’ll be disappointed by their actions, maybe even shocked.”

Composing the life requires speculation and interpretation. At times, you’ll marvel at what your subject achieved. Sometimes you’ll be disappointed by their actions, maybe even shocked. If you’re writing about a dictator or a criminal, you may struggle to strike a balance between humanizing and demonizing them.

If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble across something no-one else has found before and hope it makes waves. If you’re underhand, you’ll make an unverifiable claim and wait for the public outrage.

But let’s assume that you’ve been principled. You’ve found a worthy subject, done the laborious work of searching through the archives and ringing through the phone book, read the relevant literature and thought about the ethical dilemmas. Now it’s time to write, but where should you begin? How do you bring order to the chaos of a life?

1. Cradle to Grave

If in doubt, the ‘cradle to grave’ approach is your fallback option. Put your notes in order, get the chronology sorted, and start work. One by one, tick off the following from your list: birth, family background, childhood influences, schooling and education, early career, professional successes and setbacks, twilight years, death. Choose a first sentence a bit like this:

“Napoleon Buonaparte was born at Ajaccio in the island of Corsica, on the fifteenth day of August, 1769. He was the son of Charles Buonaparte, an advocate in the royal court of assize, and of Letitia Ramolini, a Corsican lady of great beauty, and of a good family, descended from that of Colalto at Naples.” William Hazlitt, The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte , 1828

As the conventional approach in Western book biographies for hundreds of years, this may sound like the easy option. Yet a chronological biography has its pitfalls. Expect gaps in the story, mysteries you’ll never solve, and conflicting accounts.

Establishing causality is another dilemma and not only because it’s tricky to prove links between particular experiences and later events. Strands of the story developing in parallel, encounters that only obtain significance many years later, and the after-effects of major turning points all pose a challenge to the apparent simplicity of this approach – also see our biographical piece on Emmeline Pankhurst for an example of the pitfalls and opportunities of a ‘cradle to grave’ story.

2. The Deathbed Departure

Like Agatha Christie, many biographers hold off checking the birth certificate by beginning at the end. Opening with a deathbed scene or the public announcement of the death is a ubiquitous variation on the ‘cradle-to-grave’ structure.

Eva Peron on Deathbed Photograph

Think of the exaggerated public mourning in a Buenos Aires cinema at the beginning of the film adaptation of Evita , followed immediately by sepia-coloured evocations of Eva’s provincial childhood.

By contrasting a dramatic demise with humble beginnings, you can immediately establish both suspense and a narrative arc.

3. Trace Your Steps

If your research process deserves a book of its own, or if your subject was hard to track down, you may want to put the biographical mechanics on display. Documenting the process of biographical research also allows you to write someone else’s story in the first-person. By revealing your techniques and the problems you faced, you can mitigate for the inevitable causal leaps or puzzling gaps.

Literary historians like to cite A. J. A. Symons’s The Quest for Corvo (1934), but it’s a technique found in other genres, such as documentary theatre. For example, Ivna Žic’s play Blei (2017) sees a young woman enlist her friends to reconstruct her grandfather’s experience of the disputed Bleiburg repatriations of 1945, including video interviews, excerpts from books, and taped phone calls.

4. Make It Up

Plenty of would-be historical biographies contain made-up stories impossible to verify, such as the wholly speculative story of Shakespeare’s encounter with Elizabeth I at Kenilworth, enthusiastically mythologized by nineteenth-century biographers.

“A short time previous to this, when our poet was in his twelfth year, and in the summer of 1575, an event occurred which must have made a great impression on his mind; the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the magnificent Earl of Leicester, at Kenilworth Castle.” Nathan Drake, Shakespeare and His Times , 1838

Given biography’s tendency to improvise with anecdotes and dodgy causal connections, critics say it’s a kind of fiction masquerading as history.

You can make a virtue of a necessity by augmenting the historical sources, as in Edmund Morris’s Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan (1999). Or else turn the practice of biography on its head by writing it as historical fiction, as in Hilary Mantel’s bestselling Wolf Hall (2009). Familiar representatives of the genre include the films Amadeus (1984) and Shakespeare in Love (1998), both inspired by long-standing myths associated with the lives of Mozart and Shakespeare.

If you aim to popularize a life or just to convey the atmosphere of the times, then so-called ‘biofiction’ allows you to indulge your imagination and free the life story from the strictures of the historical record.

5. Change the Received Wisdom

Myths and legends proliferating? Promise a glimpse behind the scenes and unmask your subject with a revisionist biography. Celebrities’ public personas – historical or contemporary – can easily deceive. By deconstructing appearances and identifying discourses, you can add academic sobriety to fiercely contested terrain, as in Sarah Churchwell’s The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe (2004).

You can also throw caution to the winds with a thorough debunking. This is the kind of biography that likes to offend. You can do damage to the subject’s reputation (and possibly your own) by focusing on character flaws or allegations of a moral nature. You’ll need persuasive evidence and a biographee long since deceased – that or a good lawyer.

“No man knew better than Johnson in how many nameless and numberless actions behaviour consists: actions which can scarcely be reduced to rule, and which come under no description. Of these he retained so many very strange ones, that I suppose no one who saw his odd manner of gesticulating, much blamed or wondered at the good lady’s solicitude.” Hester Lynch Piozzi [Hester Thrale], Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson , 1786

6. The Life of the Mind

Select a scientist or a philosopher for your project and chances are you’ll be writing an ‘intellectual biography’.

Following the development of ideas across a life, biographies of great minds can play an important role in public understandings of science. You’ll also be looking at how institutions or cultural and historical contexts influenced your subject, how networks champion or resist particular ideas, and how even the best ones are greeted with scepticism.

Challenges include making the material comprehensible for a non-specialist and turning the genesis of complex thoughts into a compelling narrative. Feel free to do something inventive – Darwin’s great-great-granddaughter Ruth Padel wrote a biography of her forebear in poems.

“In the brown-black gloam of closing-time he meets his future colleague, a published entomologist. ‘I had no idea! So many thousand different beetles within ten miles of home!” Ruth Padel, Darwin: A Life in Poems , 2009

7. A Single Chapter

Very often, society values a given life for a single episode within it. In ‘History as a Poetess’ (1943), Stefan Zweig calls these history’s ‘heroic, poetic moments’.

Reducing a life course to a representative year or two may depart from the genre’s established conventions. But as James Shapiro has demonstrated in two books on Shakespeare, it gives you the chance to focus on what was most important in a life – or at least to make that case.

Collective biographies can do the same for groups. As in Lara Feigel’s The Love Charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War (2013), seeing how people’s lives interweave and diverge enables a more personal and unexpected take on familiar historical events.

Biography in Theory Book Cover

[Title Image by  Ehud Neuhaus  via  Unsplash]

Edward Saunders

Edward Saunders was Deputy Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography, Vienna until August 2017. His research interests are in biography and life writing, as well as urban history and cultural memory. Learn more about him on his website.

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How to Write a Short Bio: Templates, Examples

By Status.net Editorial Team on June 16, 2023 — 12 minutes to read

  • How to Write a Short Bio Part 1
  • What to Include in a Short Professional Bio Part 2
  • Example of a Formal Short Bio Part 3
  • Example of a Casual Short Bio Part 4
  • Examples of Well-Written Short Bios Part 5
  • Short Bio: Best Templates Part 6
  • Tips for Writing a Short Bio Part 7
  • Optimizing Your Bio for Different Platforms Part 8

A short bio is a concise and informative summary of your professional background, accomplishments, and personal interests. It’s an opportunity for you to introduce yourself to others, whether it’s for networking, job applications, or social media profiles. By writing a short bio, you allow others to quickly understand your expertise, strengths, and personality.

As you write your short bio, consider your audience and tailor the content accordingly. You might want to have different versions of your bio for varying contexts, such as a professional conference, a job application, or a social media platform. Regardless of the situation, strive to be authentic and maintain a tone that reflects your personality while also adhering to professional standards.

Part 1 How to Write a Short Bio

When writing a short bio, first focus on being concise and relevant. A short bio should be approximately 4-6 sentences or about 150 words. Be sure to highlight your achievements, experience, and expertise with confidence and clarity.

To start, introduce yourself briefly, including your name, title, and current role or profession. Next, mention your most significant accomplishments in your field thus far. This can include awards, certifications, publications, or any other relevant milestones. Discuss your current work and projects, providing the reader with a snapshot of your professional life. Make sure to emphasize your unique strengths and specialties. Then, touch upon your education or any other credentials that showcase your expertise.

Here’s an example to follow:

“Jeremiah Smith, an award-winning graphic designer, specializes in creating visually stunning websites and marketing materials for a diverse clientele. With over 10 years of experience, Jeremiah has led branding projects for major corporations and small businesses alike, receiving accolades for his innovative design solutions. Currently, he serves as the Creative Director at X Design Studio, where he is dedicated to helping clients grow their digital presence. Jeremiah holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago.”

For a stronger impact, customize your short bio by tailoring it to the specific platform, audience, or purpose. By prioritizing information and emphasizing the most relevant points, you can create a brief, engaging bio that showcases your unique skills and accomplishments.

Part 2 What to Include in a Short Professional Bio

  • Your job title and current role : Start by mentioning your current role and the industry you’re working in. This helps to establish your expertise and gives readers an immediate understanding of your professional focus.
  • Career accomplishments and milestones : Highlight a few significant achievements in your career thus far. These can be successful projects, promotions, or awards you’ve received. Be specific about what you’ve accomplished and how it demonstrates your expertise.
  • Skills and qualifications : Briefly mention the key skills and qualifications you possess that make you an expert in your field. This can include technical abilities, soft skills, certifications, or degrees.
  • Interests and personal touch : Add a few personal details that showcase your interests and passions outside of work. This can humanize your professional persona and help you connect with readers on a more personal level. However, be careful not to share too much personal information.
  • LinkedIn and networking opportunities : Include a link to your LinkedIn profile or other professional social media accounts. This provides readers with an opportunity to connect with you and discover more about your background.

To present this information effectively, write your short professional bio in the third person and maintain a confident, knowledgeable, and clear tone of voice. Keep the content concise and easy to understand by breaking it into paragraphs and using formatting elements such as bullet points and bold text when necessary.

Here is one more example of a well-crafted short professional bio:

“John Smith is a seasoned marketing manager with over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He currently leads product marketing efforts at X Company, where he has successfully launched new products and significantly increased market share.

John holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is certified in digital marketing. His expertise includes strategic planning, content creation, and driving brand awareness through innovative campaigns.

In his free time, John enjoys hiking, photography, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. Connect with him on LinkedIn to learn more about his professional experience and accomplishments.”

Taking Into Account Personal and Professional Aspects

Try to strike a balance between your personal and professional aspects:

  • Make sure to mention any relevant professional accomplishments and skills that showcase your expertise in your field. If you are a student or a working professional, add details about your university, current position, or professional experiences that give readers an insight into your capabilities.
  • Don’t forget to add a touch of personality to your bio. Including personal details, interests, and hobbies will make you more relatable and create a connection with your audience. However, try to keep these personal elements brief and relevant to your overall bio. For example, if you are writing a bio for a personal website or Twitter, you could mention that you are an avid painter or a dedicated volunteer at a local animal shelter.

When writing in the second person, use short paragraphs to make your bio easy to read and understand. For instance:

  • Full name: Briefly mention your full name at the beginning of your bio.
  • Professional skills: List your core skills and accomplishments in bullet points or a table format.
  • Personal interests: Share some hobbies or interests related to your profession or that showcase your values.
  • Personal goals or mission statement: Include a sentence or two about your professional philosophy and core values to give readers a sense of your personal brand.

Related: How to Write a Personal Mission Statement (20 Examples)

Be cautious with the contact information you provide, especially if your bio will be accessible to the public on your personal website or social media profiles. Make sure only the necessary details are included to avoid any privacy concerns.

In summary, your short bio should be a reflection of both your personal and professional self. Showcase your skills and accomplishments while adding personal touches to make it engaging and relatable. Keep the text concise, use appropriate formatting, and remember to maintain a confident, knowledgeable, neutral, and clear tone throughout your bio.

Related: What Are Your Values? How to Discover Your Values

Selecting the Tone for Your Short Bio

Selecting the right tone for your short bio is crucial to portraying yourself in the way you want to be perceived. Consider the context in which the bio will be read and choose a tone accordingly. There are two main tones you can adopt: formal and casual.

Part 3 Example of a Formal Short Bio

Formal Tone : If you’re writing a bio for a professional context, such as a job, conference, or publication, opt for a formal tone. This means using more sophisticated language, avoiding slang, and maintaining a professional vibe throughout the bio. To achieve this, write in complete sentences, utilize proper grammar and punctuation, and highlight your achievements and expertise. Be sure to remain confident and clear in your writing. Example: “Dr. Jane Doe is a renowned expert in the field of molecular biology, with over 15 years of research experience to her credit. As the recipient of several prestigious awards, Dr. Doe’s groundbreaking work has had a significant impact on the scientific community.”

Part 4 Example of a Casual Short Bio

Casual Tone : A casual tone works well for less formal situations, such as bios on personal websites, blogs, or social media profiles. Here, you can use more relaxed language and showcase your personality. However, it’s still important to sound knowledgeable and approachable. Feel free to use contractions, incorporate humor, and speak directly to your audience to create an engaging tone.

“Hey there! I’m John, a travel enthusiast who loves exploring new cultures and tasting exotic dishes. When I’m not backpacking across the globe, you can find me geeking out about the latest tech gadgets or sipping on a well-crafted cocktail.”

In both cases, whether formal or casual, always ensure that your voice is confident, neutral, and clear. Remember to keep it concise, avoid exaggeration or false claims, and maintain a second-person point of view.

Part 5 Examples of Well-Written Short Bios

Short bio example 1.

Jane Smith is a marketing expert with over 10 years of experience in helping brands elevate their online presence. With a passion for storytelling, Jane excels in creating content that engages and inspires. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, photography, and exploring her city’s local coffee shops. Connect with Jane on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @JaneSmith.

Short Bio Example 2

John Doe is an experienced software engineer with a knack for developing cutting-edge applications. Specializing in full-stack web development, John’s expertise lies in JavaScript, Python, and Node.js. When he’s not coding, John can be found playing the guitar, tutoring local students in programming, or cheering on his favorite esports team.

Part 6 Short Bio: Best Templates

Short bio template 1.

[Your Name] is a [industry or profession] expert with [number of years] of experience in [specific skills or areas of expertise]. [He/She/They] specializes in [technical skills or industry knowledge] and has a passion for [relevant interests]. In [his/her/their] free time, [your name] enjoys [hobbies or activities]. Connect with [your name] on [social media platforms] or through [his/her/their] website.

Short Bio Template 2

As a [occupation or field], [Your Name] incorporates [unique qualities or skills] to produce [specific type of work]. With a background in [relevant experience], [He/She/They] has been able to [achievement or accomplishment] through [personal path or passion]. When not [working or creating], [Your Name] spends [his/her/their] time [hobbies or activities], always seeking new inspiration.

[Your name] is a [profession or role] with a background in [relevant expertise or industry]. [He/She/They] earned a [degree] in [field] from [institution]. [Your name] has [number of years] experience in [profession/industry], providing [valuable service or skill]. Outside of work, [your name] enjoys [hobbies or personal interests]. Connect with [your name] on [social media platform] or visit [your website or portfolio].

Customize these examples and templates to fit your own unique skills, experiences, and personality. Using a second person point of view, focus on the key aspects you want your audience to know about. Be confident and transparent about your achievements and interests, and let your short bio speak for itself. Happy writing!

Part 7 Tips for Writing a Short Bio

  • Know your target audience : Consider the people who will be reading your bio and focus on the information that will be most relevant to them. Tailor your bio to best serve their needs and expectations.
  • Highlight your accomplishments : Share information on your achievements, awards, and notable experiences. This will give your audience an understanding of your expertise and success in your field.
  • Include your goals and mission statement : Tell your audience what drives you and what you hope to achieve. This can help create a connection with the reader and showcase your dedication to your work.
  • Maintain a professional tone : Write in a clear and concise manner, avoiding casual language and slang. A confident and knowledgeable tone will convey your competence in your field.
  • Keep personal information to a minimum : While you may choose to mention some personal tidbits, be mindful of what you share. Focus on information that enhances your professional image, rather than oversharing personal details.
  • Promote your brand and company : If you represent a business or have a personal brand, mention your company name and mission statement. This can help reinforce your brand identity and make a stronger impression on your audience.
  • Prioritize transparency and authenticity : Be honest about your experience and qualifications. Avoid exaggerating or making false claims in order to maintain trust with your audience.
  • Limit self-promotion : While it’s important to show off your accomplishments, be sure to keep the focus on meaningful information rather than excessive self-promotion. This will help engage readers and build credibility.
  • Use formatting to enhance readability : Break up your bio into paragraphs, use bullet points for lists, and bold text for important details. This will make it easier for your audience to read and understand your bio.
  • Include contact information : Provide a way for your audience to get in touch with you, whether it’s an email address, phone number, or a link to your website.

Part 8 Optimizing Your Bio for Different Platforms

On LinkedIn , focus on your professional achievements and skills. Use bullet points or a table to highlight your most significant accomplishments. Feel free to include any relevant certifications, courses, or awards. Remember that LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, so maintaining a professional tone is crucial.

For a resume , your bio should be concise and focus on summarizing your career history and specific expertise. Make it easy for potential employers to grasp your main strengths quickly. Use bold text to emphasize crucial information, such as your job title, years of experience, or industry-specific skills.

On a personal website , you have more freedom to express your personality and showcase unique aspects of your life. Consider adding anecdotes, hobbies, or personal achievements to give visitors a glimpse of who you are outside of your professional life. You can also touch on your professional capabilities but keep it concise.

For Twitter , keep in mind the character limit for bios and make every word count. Capture your profession or industry, and maybe add a touch of your personality or interests through emojis or hashtags. It’s common to see authors and celebrities mention their latest projects, books, or achievements here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the essential elements of a short bio.

A short bio should include:

  • Your name and current role or profession.
  • Brief background information including education and relevant work experience.
  • Notable accomplishments or skills relevant to your profession.
  • Personal interests or ambitions that showcase your personality.
  • A call-to-action, such as directing readers to your portfolio or LinkedIn profile.

How can I create a compelling short professional bio?

To create a compelling short professional bio, follow these steps:

  • Start strong with a clear and concise introduction.
  • Focus on your most relevant qualifications and experience.
  • Highlight key achievements and successes.
  • Provide a personal touch that showcases your unique attributes.
  • Keep it brief and easy to read, aiming for around 100-150 words.

What are some tips to make my short bio stand out?

  • Use vivid language and strong, active verbs.
  • Tailor your bio to your audience, emphasizing information that is most relevant to them.
  • Share a unique or unexpected personal interest to pique interest.
  • Edit and proofread your bio carefully, ensuring it is free of errors and reads smoothly.

How can I tailor my short bio to different contexts?

Adjust your short bio for different contexts by:

  • Focusing on relevant skills, experience, or accomplishments for each specific audience.
  • Adjusting the tone or language to suit the platform (e.g., more casual for a social media profile or more formal for a conference bio).
  • Emphasizing specific personal interests or accomplishments that align with the context or audience.
  • Updating your call-to-action as needed to direct readers to relevant content or profiles.

Related: 150+ Awesome Examples of Personal Values

  • How to Write a Personal Mission Statement (20 Examples)
  • How to Live By Your Values
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How to Write Engaging Personal & Professional Bios (with Examples)

Last Updated: August 24, 2023 Fact Checked

Writing Personal and Professional Bios

Writing student bios, making your bio stand out, sample bios.

This article was co-authored by Melody Godfred, JD and by wikiHow staff writer, Glenn Carreau . Melody Godfred is a Career Coach, Entrepreneur, and Founder of Write In Color, a full-service resume and career development company that specializes in developing compelling personal narratives and brands. With over ten years of experience, Melody has worked with clients at entertainment and media companies including Apple, Disney, Fox, Netflix, Riot Games, Viacom, and Warner Bros, among others. The Muse invited Melody and Write In Color to serve as one of its 30 trusted career counselors (out of 3,000) to provide one-on-one coaching and resume services to the platform's more than four million active users. Melody earned a JD from Loyola Marymount University and BS from the University of Southern California. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 5,722,671 times.

Personal bios are a great way to show people who you are and what you do. Whether writing a bio about yourself for a personal or professional website, a college application, or a social media account, bios are an important part of connecting with your audience or customer base. It’s important to take your time and be thoughtful as you write to ensure you get the right message across! Read on for a complete guide to writing a personal (or professional) bio about yourself, along with writing tips to make it as engaging as possible.

Things You Should Know

  • Start with your first and last name in a quick introductory sentence. Then, explain your job, greatest achievements, and professional mission statement.
  • Expand on personal details, including where you’re from, your educational background, and a quick summary of passions that aren’t related to your job.
  • Mention any projects you’re working on and end the bio with your contact information. Write in the third-person perspective unless it’s for social media.

Step 1 Identify your purpose for writing the bio and your potential audience.

  • The difference between personal and professional bios is all in the tone you use. Both cover your job and skills, but the bio you write for a personal website might sound less formal than the one you write for a job application.
  • As you write your bio, adjust your tone to make your bio appropriately formal, funny, professional, or personal.
  • If you can’t figure out what to write, check out bios from other people in your field and get a sense of their writing strategy. You can use their bios as models and write yours based on their overall structure.

Step 2 Write in the third person unless you’re writing for social media.

  • For example, begin a third-person bio with a sentence like, "Joann Smith is a graphic designer in Boston," and a first-person bio with "I am a graphic designer in Boston."

Step 3 Begin with a brief introduction citing your name and claim to fame.

  • For example, a simple yet solid introduction sentence could be, “Dan Keller is a columnist for the Boulder Times.”
  • Avoid writing a nickname in your bio. Even if your bio isn’t strictly for professional use, it’s best to treat it like a formal introduction to other people.
  • Be sure to mention your company or brand within your introduction. You might work for a company or own your own business with a personal brand.

Step 4 Explain your professional role, skills, and attributes in more detail.

  • For example, “Dan Keller is a columnist for the Boulder Times. He specializes in writing public interest stories on the latest technology.
  • Both personal and professional bios typically include job information; personal bios simply present that information a little more informally.
  • If you’re writing about your job informally, you might write something like, “Joann Smith is a passionate knitter who also happens to own and run her paper supply company.”

Step 5 Write about your greatest professional achievements to date.

  • “Dan Keller is a columnist for the Boulder Times. His 2011 series "All that and More" earned him Boulder’s prestigious “Up-and-Comer” award for innovation.”
  • Don’t make up accomplishments if you don’t have anything notable to add and only include achievements that relate to the career information or skills discussed in the bio.
  • Avoid buzzwords like "innovative," "experienced," "creative," and so on, which are often so overused that they don’t mean anything to people. Show readers what you can do through specific details, not catchy phrases.

Step 6 Come up with a mission statement that sums up your personal values.

  • For example, “Dan is committed to helping people understand and embrace the true power of technology.”

Step 7 Include personal details, interests, and passions to intrigue readers.

  • For example: “When he isn’t glued to a computer screen, Dan spends time working in the garden, learning French, and trying very hard not to be the worst pool player in the Rockies.”
  • The details you share can vary by bio. For a strictly personal bio, include details like hobbies, personal beliefs, and mottos.
  • For a bio that falls between "professional" and "personal," try sharing details that give a sense of who you are but won’t alienate others.
  • Avoid self-deprecating comments and details that are too intimate or potentially embarrassing for you or your audience.

Step 8 Summarize any projects you’re currently working on, if applicable.

  • For example: “Dan is currently working on a memoir.”
  • Keep this part of your bio short and sweet! A sentence is two is all you need.

Step 9 Leave your contact information at the end of your bio.

  • If you publish this bio online, format your email address carefully to avoid spam. Many people write email addresses online like: “Greg (at) fizzlemail (dot) com.”
  • This clearly tells readers how to spell out your email without making it easy for spammers and bots to copy and use your information.

Step 10 Edit, revise, and get feedback on your bio before publishing it.

  • Ask your friends and family (especially anyone who is a strong writer) to proofread your bio and give you feedback. A fresh pair of eyes can catch mistakes that you may miss!
  • Online editing software like Grammarly can grade your piece in terms of readability and suggest minor improvements.
  • Every once in a while, go back and update your bio. By putting in a little work frequently to keep it up to date, you'll save yourself a lot of work when you need to use it again.

Step 1 Tell a story with your bio instead of listing facts about yourself.

  • Chronological. Start at the story's beginning and end at the end. It’s simple and works well if you’ve had an interesting life that has taken you from points A to B to C in unusual or impressive ways.
  • Circular. Start at an important moment (D), then backtrack to the beginning (A), and explain all the events leading up to that moment (B, C), eventually bringing the reader full circle. This is good for building suspense!
  • Zoomed In. Focus on one critical event (C) to symbolically tell a larger story. Use a few small surrounding details (A, B, D) to orient the reader, but give that one moment enough emphasis to stand on its own.

Step 2 Focus on yourself and explain why you’re a good fit for the college.

  • Avoid statements like, "UCSF has one of the top-ranked research-based med schools in the world, which would provide me with the foundation necessary to achieve my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor."
  • Instead, write something like, “Watching a trauma surgeon save my brother’s life is a moment I’ll never forget. Since then, I’ve known undoubtedly that I would dedicate my life to medicine. My brother was lucky that his surgeon studied at one of the best programs in the country. By doing the same, I hope to one day mean to another family what Dr. Heller does to mine."

Step 3 Write in your own voice without trying to squeeze in fancy words.

  • Avoid statements like, "Having had a rather minimalistic upbringing, I find that I continue to assiduously value hard work and frugality above all else."
  • Instead, try something like, "Growing up very poor taught me that hard work and thrift are sometimes the only things a person can afford."
  • Well-written ideas make you seem far more intelligent than big words do. Focus on expressing yourself clearly, and don’t worry about the syllable count!

Step 4 Include concrete details to help readers get a sense of your abilities.

  • Avoid statements like, "I learned a lot from my experience as a camp counselor."
  • Instead, try something like, "I came out of my time as a camp counselor with a better understanding of empathy than before. Now, when my younger sister acts up, I know how to help her without sounding bossy or controlling."

Step 1 Keep the bio concise and consider any word count restrictions.

  • Different types of bio have different word count expectations. For instance, the average brief personal bio is around 250 words. For a resume or job search, it’s okay to have a personal bio of around 300 to 500 words.
  • For longer personal bios (ones you might post on an “about me” page for a professional website, for example), aim for around 1,000 to 2,000 words. Include all the details you can, but keep them concise.
  • Some social media sites, such as Twitter, restrict your bio to a certain number of words or characters. Ensure that you make the most of that space.

Step 2 Use humor to give your writing a personal touch.

  • For example, Tom Hank’s personal bio on Twitter reads, “I'm that actor in some of the movies you liked and some you didn't. Sometimes I'm in pretty good shape, other times I'm not. Hey, you gotta live, you know?”

Step 3 Use active verbs, so your writing sounds more alive and interesting.

  • Passive: "The window was broken by the zombie."
  • Active: "The zombie broke the window."
  • The difference between these sentences is stark: in the first, you have no idea whether the window just happened to be broken. The second is obvious: the zombie broke the window, and you need to hit the road.

Step 4 Be authentic and let your content speak for itself.

  • Avoid statements like, "Reading The Great Gatsby was a pivotal moment in my life that made me totally rethink my preconceptions about what it means to live in modern America. Thanks to that assignment, I want to pursue American Studies."
  • Instead, try something like, "My family’s ties to this country aren’t glamorous. We didn’t arrive on the Mayflower or have our surname butchered at Ellis Island. We settled in four states across the Midwest, where we’ve lived happily for over 100 years. The magic of that simple act isn’t lost on me, which is why I’ve chosen to major in American Studies."

Step 5 Link to your social media profiles or professional website in the bio.

  • For example, if you’re writing an Instagram bio, include a link to your personal website too—especially if there’s a longer and more detailed bio for readers to check out there.
  • Include a brief call-to-action, too! For example, if you have contact info, you might write “Contact me using the following” before you add the links.

Step 6 Use best SEO practices for your bio and optimize your online visibility.

  • On your website, longer bios (between 1,500 and 2,000 words) will have the best online optimization. If your bio needs to be shorter, be sure to at least use third-person POV, since your name is another keyword.
  • For example, your website’s “About” page could easily support a 1,500+ word bio. However, from there, you’d need to edit that bio down to a few sentences (a short paragraph) for your LinkedIn profile.

biography sentence making

Community Q&A

wikiHow Staff Editor

  • Throughout the process, think back to the purpose and audience you identified in Step 1. This will help guide your writing. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • If you're writing online, include hyperlinks to things you mention, such as projects you worked on or a personal blog you keep. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

biography sentence making

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  • ↑ https://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo

About This Article

Melody Godfred, JD

When you write a personal bio, write in the third person so it sounds more objective and professional. Start with a sentence that includes your name and what you do for a living. Then, mention your most important accomplishments that are relevant to your field of work. Briefly mention a couple of your hobbies or interests to make your bio more relatable. End with a sentence on any big projects you’re currently working on. Try to keep your bio around 250-500 words. For help writing a personal bio for college applications or social media, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How Kids Can Learn to Write a Biography

Tetra Images - Daniel Grill/Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

Writing the Biography

  • Making It Interesting

Adding Final Touches

Publishing the biography.

Many gifted kids love reading biographies, but there's no reason they can't write one of their own! If your child is one of those who loves biographies and also loves writing , then encourage them to write their own biography. Sometimes a child has a good idea of who they'd like to write about and sometimes they don't. Getting ideas on who to write about and gathering information on that person and the time in which they lived would be the first steps to writing a biography.

Once your child has gathered all the information they need, they need to come up with an "angle." This is what makes one biography substantially different from other biographies. Coming up with an angle just means figuring out the main idea of the biography or the point the biography will make about the person.

A good way to think about the angle or main idea is that it is one sentence that expresses the writer's opinion of the person. It is what the writer wants everyone to know or think about that person.

It is really like a thesis statement. For example, a child might want everyone to know that his grandfather was an honest, hard-working person who, in spite of many hardships made a good life for himself and his family.

That main idea can help your child stay focused on the details to include in the biography. After all, a lifetime is full of many, many events; they can't all be included. Which ones should be included? The ones that help illustrate the main idea! If the main idea is to show a person was hard-working, readers don't need to know all the details about the person's various pets — unless that person worked hard to take care of those pets!

Once your child knows the message they'd like to convey with their biography, they can write a short and simple outline that lists the events and details they want to write about. It doesn't have to be long or complicated or very formal. Even a list of events they'd like to write about will work quite nicely.

Making the Biography Interesting

What makes a biography interesting? We'd like to think that the story itself is enough to make the biography interesting, and that's sometimes true when we're writing a biography about a family member to be read by other family members. But how can your child make his biography interesting to others?

One way is to use specific words when possible rather than general words. For example, "car" is a general word, but "Mercedes" is specific. "Walk" is also a rather general word, but "shuffle" is more specific.

Encouraging your child to use more specific words will not only make the biography more interesting to read, but it will also help them expand their vocabulary.

Of course, it's not always necessary to use specific terms. Sometimes adjectives and adverbs can use used. For example, your child might write , "the old and rusted cars" or "walked slowly." The idea behind all this detail is to help a reader see and feel what the writer sees and feels.

The Read, Write, Think Web site has a great exercise sheet to help kids be more descriptive in their writing. But be sure to let them know that less can sometimes be more! In other words, tell them not to overdo it!

Once your child is done with his biography, there are some final touches they can add. Pictures are great additions to a biography. Family pictures can be collected from other people in the family, but how do you get pictures of famous people? The best way is to look for photos that are in the public domain . That just means that no one owns the copyright to the photos anymore, so anyone can use them.

Another final touch is to find a great quotation to start with, one that will get a reader "hooked." This can be something the subject of the biography (i.e. a grandparent) frequently said, or it could be a quotation from a famous author that reflects what your child wants to say about his subject.

Publishing can mean something as simple as printing out copies of the biography on a printer or getting it published as a book. It's actually easier to get it published than you might think.​  Bookemon.com is a wonderful place to go to get a book published. There are lots of "templates" to pick from and lots of biographies that you can take a look at. Books created there can be shared with everyone and anyone!

By Carol Bainbridge Carol Bainbridge has provided advice to parents of gifted children for decades, and was a member of the Indiana Association for the Gifted.

Sam Bankman-Fried: Disgraced 'crypto king' jailed for 25 years after stealing billions of dollars from FTX customers

Secret back doors had been established that allowed SBF's other company, Alameda Research, to access money belonging to FTX customers and make risky bets without their knowledge.

By Connor Sephton and Niamh Lynch, news reporters

Thursday 28 March 2024 19:14, UK

Sam Bankman-Fried. Pic: Reuters

Disgraced crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted of stealing billions of dollars from his customers.

He was the chief executive of FTX , which suddenly went bankrupt in November 2022 - leaving millions of users frozen out of their accounts and unable to make withdrawals.

The 32-year-old American could have faced up to 100 years behind bars - but last month, his lawyers argued such a sentence would have been "barbaric" and a five-year term would be more appropriate.

Initial reports said he had been sentenced to 20 years - but this has since been corrected to 25.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to jail Bankman-Fried for 40 to 50 years, arguing the public needed protecting from the fraudster and a harsh punishment would deter other criminals.

"The defendant victimised tens of thousands of people and companies, across several continents, over a period of multiple years," prosecutors said in a court filing.

"He stole money from customers who entrusted it to him; he lied to investors; he sent fabricated documents to lenders; he pumped millions of dollars in illegal donations into our political system; and he bribed foreign officials. Each of these crimes is worthy of a lengthy sentence."

More on Ftx

Sam Bankman-Fried had faced up to 110 years behind bars. Pic: Reuters

Sam Bankman-Fried sentence: After years of 'hubris, incompetence and greed', crypto king's jail term is end of an era

Cristiano Ronaldo. Pic: Binance

Cristiano Ronaldo faces $1bn lawsuit after launching NFT collection

Sam Bankman-Fried found guilty - and the crypto industry may never recover

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Prosecutors also said Bankman-Fried had cost customers, investors and lenders over $10bn (£7.9bn) by misappropriating funds to fuel his quest for influence and dominance in the new industry, and had illegally used money from FTX depositors to cover his expenses, which included purchasing luxury properties in the Caribbean, alleged bribes to Chinese officials and private planes.

At the sentencing hearing in Manhattan, Judge Lewis Kaplan said the businessman lied on the witness stand when he insisted he had no knowledge of customer funds being used this way.

The judge also described Bankman-Fried's claim that victims will be paid back in full as "misleading and logically flawed".

"A thief who takes his loot to Las Vegas and successfully bets the stolen money is not entitled to a discount on the sentence by using his Las Vegas winnings to pay back what he stole," Judge Kaplan warned.

Crypto king's jail term is end of an era

Connor Sephton, chief sub-editor

News reporter

Sam Bankman-Fried was breathlessly described as a wunderkind - a boy wonder transforming the world of finance.

Renowned for his messy hair and unkempt appearance, he graced the covers of Forbes and Fortune, who pondered whether he could become the next Warren Buffett.

The 32-year-old was the founder of FTX, which had quickly become the world's second-largest cryptocurrency exchange - a place where investors could buy and sell digital assets like Bitcoin.

Star-studded adverts featuring the tennis player Naomi Osaka and the comedian Larry David added to its allure - with eye-watering sums spent on sponsorship deals.

But in November 2022, Bankman-Fried's crypto empire came crashing down after it emerged that customer funds worth $10bn (£7.9bn) was missing.

Read the full analysis here

The judge said that the sentence reflected "a risk that this man will be in a position to do something very bad in the future".

"And it's not a trivial risk at all."

He added that it was "for the purpose of disabling him to the extent that can appropriately be done for a significant period of time".

Before he was sentenced, Mr Bankman-Fried apologised in a rambling statement.

FILE PHOTO: Indicted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the United States Courthouse in New York City, U.S., July 26, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky/File Photo

"A lot of people feel really let down. And they were very let down. And I'm sorry about that. I'm sorry about what happened at every stage," he said.

"My useful life is probably over. It's been over for a while now, from before my arrest."

Judge Kaplan said he would advise the Federal Bureau of Prisons to send him to a medium-security prison or less near the San Francisco area because he's unlikely to be a physical threat to other inmates or prison staff, and his autism and social awkwardness would make him vulnerable to other inmates in a high-security location.

Read more: The meteoric rise and even sharper fall of Sam Bankman-Fried Why industry may never recover from downfall of 'crypto king'

It took just five-and-a-half hours for a jury in New York to convict him of two counts of fraud and five of conspiracy last November.

Three people from Bankman-Fried's inner circle - including his former girlfriend Caroline Ellison - pleaded guilty to related crimes and testified at his trial.

Sam Bankman-Fried's colleague and on-off girlfriend Caroline Ellison testified against him. Pic: Reuters

Bankman-Fried's conviction followed a dramatic fall from grace from his time as chief executive of FTX - the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world at one time - when he was worth billions of dollars on paper.

FTX allowed investors to buy dozens of virtual currencies, from Bitcoin to more obscure ones like Shiba Inu Coin.

FTX logo is seen in this illustration taken March 31, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Flush with billions of dollars of investors' cash, Bankman-Fried rode a crest of success that included a Super Bowl advertisement and celebrity endorsements from stars like quarterback Tom Brady, basketball star Stephen Curry and comedian Larry David.

But after the collapse of cryptocurrency prices in 2022, Bankman-Fried tried to plug the holes in the balance sheet of FTX's hedge fund affiliate, known as Alameda Research.

Bankman-Fried's victims - an estimated 80,000 of whom are based in the UK - remain out of pocket, with some losing their life savings.

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Prosecutors described his crimes as one of the biggest financial frauds in US history.

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GOP-backed bill proposing harsher sentences to combat crime sent to Kentucky's governor

F RANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Kentucky wrapped up work Thursday on a sweeping criminal justice bill that would deliver harsher sentences to combat crime. Opponents making a last stand before final passage warned the measure would carry a hefty price tag with no assurances that a tougher approach will lower crime.

The House voted 75-23 after another long debate to send the measure to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. The massive legislation is a priority for many in the GOP supermajority legislature.

The governor has signaled he likes aspects of the sprawling bill but dislikes other sections, including provisions to create the crime of unlawful camping, which critics say would criminalize homelessness.

“It's hard to comment on a bill that tries to do this many things,” Beshear said recently. “I think it properly should have been split into different bills.”

House Bill 5 — one of the most contentious of the legislative session — would make a multitude of changes to the state’s criminal code, enhancing many current penalties and creating new offenses.

Supporters portrayed the bill as a necessary policy shift that would do more to hold criminals accountable and to make communities safer.

“If you get convicted of a violent crime, you’re going to the big house and you’re going for a long time,” Republican Rep. Jason Nemes said in defending the bill against blistering criticism from Democrats.

One prominent feature would create a “three-strikes” penalty that would lock up felons for the rest of their lives after committing a third violent offense.

Opponents said the measure failed to delve into the root causes of crime and warned of potential skyrocketing costs by putting more people behind bars for longer sentences.

“To increase the penalties may make us on paper look like we feel safer. I do not know that it will make us actually be more safe,” said Democratic Rep. Tina Bojanowski.

To bolster public safety, she suggested such alternatives as temporarily taking guns away from people experiencing mental health crises, better protecting domestic violence victims and improving access to housing — things not addressed by the legislation. Other critics said more effective ways to combat crime would be to raise the minimum wage and spend more on rehabilitative services.

The bill's supporters focused mostly on urban crime in pushing for tougher policies. A law enforcement report released last year showed that overall serious crime rates fell across Kentucky in 2022, with declines in reports of homicides, robberies and drug offenses.

Opponents said the prospect of more criminal offenders serving longer sentences will saddle the Bluegrass State with significantly higher corrections costs and put more strain on overcrowded jails.

The fiscal note attached to the bill said the overall financial impact was “indeterminable” but would likely lead to a “significant increase in expenditures primarily due to increased incarceration costs.”

The measure would add to the list of violent crimes that require offenders to serve most of their sentences before becoming eligible for release.

Another key section aims to combat the prevalence of fentanyl by creating harsher penalties when its distribution results in fatal overdoses. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid seen as a key factor in the state’s high death toll from drug overdoses.

The section stirring some of the most heated debate would create an “unlawful camping” offense applied to the homeless. It means people could be arrested for sleeping or setting up camp in public spaces — whether on streets, sidewalks, under bridges or in front of businesses or public buildings. A first offense would be treated as a violation, with subsequent offenses designated as a misdemeanor. People could sleep in vehicles in public for up to 12 hours without being charged with unlawful camping.

Several thousand people experience homelessness in Kentucky on a given night, advocates say.

The bill would create a standalone carjacking law with enhanced penalties. Another provision would offer workers and business owners criminal immunity in cases where they use a “reasonable amount of force” to prevent theft or protect themselves and their stores.

The bill's lead sponsor is Republican Rep. Jared Bauman and the measure drew dozens of cosponsors.

FILE - The Kentucky Capitol is seen, April 7, 2021, in Frankfort, Ky. Republican lawmakers in Kentucky wrapped up work Thursday, March 28, 2024, on a sweeping criminal justice bill that would deliver harsher sentences to combat crime. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Biography: 6 Tips for Writing Biographical Texts

    Using flashbacks allows the author to introduce relevant past information to the reader without bogging them down with paragraphs of background exposition. 6. Include your thoughts. A biography isn't just a transaction of facts. A biographer can share their own feelings and opinions on their subject's life.

  2. Biography Sentence Starters

    Biography Sentence Starters. Biography sentence starters are a great way to begin writing a biography or autobiography. They can provide structure, direction, and inspiration for your story. These sentence starters can help you craft an engaging narrative and bring life to your story. They can also help you focus on key elements of a biography ...

  3. How to Write a Biography in 8 Steps (The Non-Boring Way!)

    Conduct relevant interviews. Whenever possible, seek firsthand accounts from those who knew or interacted with the subject. Conduct interviews with family members, friends, colleagues, or experts in the field. Their insights and anecdotes can provide a deeper understanding of the person's character and experiences.

  4. How to Write a Biography

    BIOGRAPHY WRITING Tip: #4 Put Something of Yourself into the Writing. While the defining feature of a biography is that it gives an account of a person's life, students must understand that this is not all a biography does. Relating the facts and details of a subject's life is not enough.

  5. How to Write a Biography: A 7-Step Guide [+Template]

    Facebook. These are just some of the story elements you can use to make your biography more compelling. Once you've finished your manuscript, it's a good idea to ask for feedback. 7. Get feedback and polish the text. If you're going to self-publish your biography, you'll have to polish it to professional standards.

  6. How to Write a Biography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

    1. Go for a chronological structure. Start chronologically from the subject's birth to their death or later life. Use the timeline of the person's life to structure the biography. Start with birth and childhood. Then, go into young adulthood and adulthood.

  7. 11 Tips On How To Write A Personal Biography + Examples

    2. Introduce yourself… like a real person. This is one of the most important pieces of understanding how to write a personal biography. Always start with your name. When many people start learning how to write a bio, they skip this important part. People need to know who you are before they learn what you do.

  8. How to Write an Interesting Biography

    Start off with great first sentence. It's a good idea to begin with a really interesting statement, a little-known fact, or really intriguing event. You should avoid starting out with a standard but boring line like: "Meriwether Lewis was born in Virginia in 1774." Instead, try starting with something like this:

  9. How to Write a Biography

    Wondering how to write a biography? We've constructed a simple step-by-step process for writing biographies. Use our tips & tricks to help you get started!

  10. How to Write a Biography (Examples & Templates)

    A biography is the story of someone's life as written by another writer. Most biographies of popular figures are written years, or even decades, after their deaths. Authors write biographies of popular figures due to either a lack of information on the subject or personal interest. A biography aims to share a person's story or highlight a ...

  11. How to write a strong one-line biography (with examples!)

    Keep it short, but readable. If you're required to keep your biography to just one sentence, you have just 15 to 20 words on average to get your point across. You need to be succinct and make every word count. As such, remove superlatives and flowery language that could make it harder to read. This is not the place to be cute or show off ...

  12. How To Write a Professional Bio in 6 Steps (With Examples)

    1. Choose the appropriate name and professional title. Writing a professional bio starts by choosing the right name and professional titles to use. Different names and titles can change depending on the purpose and audience of the bio. For example, some people choose to use a different first name in their bio instead of their given name.

  13. 7 Different Ways to Write a Great Biography

    6. The Life of the Mind. Select a scientist or a philosopher for your project and chances are you'll be writing an 'intellectual biography'. Following the development of ideas across a life, biographies of great minds can play an important role in public understandings of science.

  14. How To Write a Professional Short Bio (With Examples)

    Here are some steps you can follow to help you write a successful short bio: 1. Choose a voice. The first step in writing a short bio is deciding on a voice. For our purposes, choosing a voice involves deciding whether you are writing in the first or third person. Writing in the first person means using the words "I" and "me", and writing in ...

  15. How to Write a Short Bio: Templates, Examples

    Part 1 How to Write a Short Bio. When writing a short bio, first focus on being concise and relevant. A short bio should be approximately 4-6 sentences or about 150 words. Be sure to highlight your achievements, experience, and expertise with confidence and clarity.

  16. How to Write a Personal Bio: Key Writing Tips & Examples

    Start with your first and last name in a quick introductory sentence. Then, explain your job, greatest achievements, and professional mission statement. Expand on personal details, including where you're from, your educational background, and a quick summary of passions that aren't related to your job. Mention any projects you're working ...

  17. How To Use "Biography" In A Sentence: Exploring The Term

    3. Failing to capitalize "biography" when referring to a specific work: When mentioning the title of a specific biography, it is important to capitalize the word "biography" as you would with any other title. Incorrect Example: "I recently read a biography of Leonardo da Vinci.".

  18. Examples of "Biography" in a Sentence

    1. His wife Elisa Lee (1787-1860), an American authoress of some reputation, published after his death his lectures and sermons, with a biography written by herself (5 vols., Boston, 1846). 2. Learn how to use "biography" in a sentence with 441 example sentences on YourDictionary.

  19. Biography Sentence Starters

    These sentence starters and connectives will ensure that you get biographies from your students that are interesting and differ from each others. Print them out as is and give one to each of your students for their books or enlarge them to use as posters around your room. * The time came for…. * Soon afterwards…. * Shortly after this….

  20. How Kids Can Learn to Write a Biography

    One way is to use specific words when possible rather than general words. For example, "car" is a general word, but "Mercedes" is specific. "Walk" is also a rather general word, but "shuffle" is more specific. Encouraging your child to use more specific words will not only make the biography more interesting to read, but it will also help them ...

  21. Biography: In a Sentence

    Examples of Biography in a sentence. It took me years to shape the president's life story into an engaging biography. Since the actress never asked you to write about her rise to stardom, your book isn't an authorized biography. The popular author will recount the singer's upbringing in a biography. In order for the writer to pen my ...

  22. Sentence Starters for Biography Writing with Years 3-6

    Support your Year 3-6 students to write a biography! Provide your students with a little bit of inspiration and guidance when writing a biography with these biography themed sentence starters and suggested phrases to get them started. These sentence starters and connectives will help scaffold the writing of biographies from your students that ...

  23. 4 takeaways from Sam Bankman-Fried's sentencing

    Bankman-Fried's 25-year sentence is about half of the 40 to 50 years prosecutors had sought. Judge Kaplan said he weighed a number of factors, including the brazenness of the crimes and Bankman ...

  24. Sam Bankman-Fried: Disgraced 'crypto king' jailed for 25 years after

    The 32-year-old American could have faced up to 100 years behind bars - but last month, his lawyers argued such a sentence would have been "barbaric" and a five-year term would be more appropriate.

  25. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison

    In this courtroom sketch, Sam Bankman-Fried sits during his sentencing in Manhattan federal court, Thursday, March 28, 2024, in New York. Crypto entrepreneur Bankman-Fried was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison for a massive fraud that unraveled with the collapse of FTX, once one of the world's most popular platforms for exchanging digital currency.

  26. GOP-backed bill proposing harsher sentences to combat crime sent to

    FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Kentucky wrapped up work Thursday on a sweeping criminal justice bill that would deliver harsher sentences to combat crime. Opponents making a last ...