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Do You Know What a Biography is?

Welcome to this article where we will tell you what a biography is and explain how to write it step by step. If you want to find out everything and not miss anything, our advice is to continue reading.

You may also be interested in this article where we explain what are the elements of a narrative.

What is a biography?

A biography is a literary genre of essayistic character, which consists specifically in narrating a person’s life. Usually, it is about a public figure. We make this clarification because you may be asked to write a biography about yourself at university, that is, an autobiography.

This type of text has a narrative and expository perspective, and is classified within the non-fiction genre. In addition, it has a strong historical content, since it explains real events that happened to the protagonist.

In this sense, if the character in question has died, his biography is usually extended to the time of his death. However, the writer will decide where to end the narration if the character is alive.

Likewise, this literary genre fulfills both an educational and a reflective function, as long as the biographer provides quality data and reflects on it. Thus, the biographer can bring up the great achievements of the character and relate his or her implication in people’s lives. By this we mean that the function of the biography is not limited to describing a subject’s life, but should invite analysis.

Let us now look at some of the main characteristics of this literary genre.

Characteristics of biography

Like any literary genre, the biography must follow a series of writing rules. Let’s get to know them below:

  • It is written in the third person: a biography is written this way, since the person narrating the story is not the protagonist. For this reason, it cannot be written in the first person. With the exception of an autobiography, where the writer and the character are the same subject.
  • It is an objective text: it is a requirement that the biography should conform to the facts as rigorously as possible. To this end, the writer must carry out exhaustive research on the biographer’s life. There is no room for rumors or unconfirmed information. In this sense, it is similar to academic writing.
  • Only relevant facts are narrated: from the information obtained in the research, the writer must select the most transcendental aspects to be included in the text. To make this selection, it will be important to be clear about the objective pursued with the biography.
  • It should follow a chronological narrative thread: this means that it includes an introduction to the character, a development where his life is told, and a conclusion. This last part discusses the lessons or contributions left by his or her work.
  • The character and his environment are described: here we refer to the protagonist’s personality traits, as well as important dates and places. In addition, other people who played a significant role in his life are also included.
  • The biography can adopt different formats: although it is a literary genre, it can be expressed in other ways that go beyond the written text. In some museums, for example, you can find biographies captured in works of art.

Now that we know what a biography is and its characteristics, we only need to see how to write it.

How to write a biography?

The first step to start a text within this literary genre is to select the person you want to biographize. It will be crucial for this task to have enough quality information obtained from reliable sources.

Among the points to be investigated are the events that marked the person, and his or her ties, both labor and emotional. Of course, his work or the most influential actions he performed, and the context in which he developed,

Likewise, it is also recommended to know other biographies that have been written about the protagonist. This has two objectives: obtaining information from someone who has already researched his story. The second has to do with getting to know other points of view about the character.

With all the information, the next thing to do is determine what aspects are considered significant and include them in the writing. Once this is determined, a viable action is to elaborate an outline of each part of the text.

In this way, the writer will know what information to include in each section, and writing will be a little easier. With this road map defined, the only thing left to do is to start writing.

We have reached this article’s end and hope you have found it useful. Remember that a biography, as a literary genre, can also take advantage of poetic language, without losing its rigorousness. If you need help with the writing of this project, we suggest you continue reading.

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