Homework Center: How to Write a Biography
A biography is simply the story of a life. Biographies can be just a few sentences long, or they can fill an entire book?or two.
Biographies analyze and interpret the events in a person's life. They try to find connections, explain the meaning of unexpected actions or mysteries, and make arguments about the significance of the person's accomplishments or life activities. Biographies are usually about famous, or infamous people, but a biograpy of an ordinary person can tell us a lot about a particular time and place. They are often about historical figures, but they can also be about people still living.
Many biographies are written in chronological order. Some group time periods around a major theme (such as "early adversity" or "ambition and achievement" ). Still others focus on specific topics or accomplishments.
Biographers use primary and secondary sources:
To write a biography you should:
You'll find biographies of lots of famous people in the encyclopedia. (Look them up in the Infoplease search box to find them.) You can also browse these short biographies of Selected Figures from Recent History.
For more on what makes a good biography, see the encyclopedia entry on biography and this The Biography Maker site from the Bellingham Public Schools.
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