How To Write A Biography Essay

8 Steps to Follow When Writing a Biography Essay

How do I write a Biography?

How to Write a Biography

8 Steps on How to Write a Biography

Most students ask themselves about how to write a biography essay. A biography is an account of another individual’s life story, and it is given in third person. There are 8 basic steps which you should follow to achieve this. A biography entails vast information concerning the life of the subject. Some factors to consider include; the person’s interests, most significant events in his/her life, education, place of birth, achievements, and the impact of this in how they were brought up as children. The individual could be an inventor, artist, author, politician, actor, historical figure, and so on. As a writer, you are basically sharing the story of another person’s life with the readers.


Purpose of a Biography

The purpose of a biography is to share the life history of a person with an audience. The writer may think about writing a biography because they find that person’s life interesting, or because there lacks enough information concerning a particular person/subject. Biographical stories may inspire people. They highlight the specific person’s achievements whilst showcasing the audience the ways in which the person overcame life’s challenges.

Organizational Structure

A good biography paper must contain an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The last sentence of an introduction should be a thesis statement about the person’s life. The body should contain extensive information concerning the work and life of that person. Lastly, the conclusion should have information about the significance/impact of that person to the society.

Steps on how to write a good biography essay;

There are easy steps on how to write a biography essay;

Step 1: Choosing the Subject

You should choose a person who has had a lasting impact on the society; a famous person. You should be able to find some books and articles about that person when you conduct research. Find the most interesting facts about them, and share them with the audience.

Step 2: Research and look for Credible Sources

In this case, primary sources which contain information about the subject would be best to use. These are firsthand accounts of the person’s life. When the information presented in primary sources is insufficient, you can also use secondary sources. Some examples of primary and secondary sources  include; journal entries, memoirs, existing biographies, interviews, videos, journals, magazines, documentaries, online articles, newspaper clippings, newspaper articles, letters, pictures, and books. These can be found online or in the local libraries. From these sources, take note of the most significant and interesting aspects about the subject. For instance, some interesting/important facts are; names, events, dates and others.

Here, one of the best strategies to adopt, to ensure that your research is focused on the subject is to create research questions. Some of the questions include; what aspects would I like to know more about? What is new about the person? What is the significance of the subject to the audience?

Step 3: Write an Outline

Unless instructions state otherwise, your paper should have the normal essay format (introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion).

Step 4: Write the Introduction

The introduction should aim at showing the audience what they will learn about the subject. This paragraph should hook the reader to the essay, and prompt them to read the rest of it. The best ways to structure an introduction are to;

  • Begin by highlighting an impeccable achievement the person achieved.
  • Incorporate an interesting anecdote or story about that person.
  • Include a quote about the person, or a quote by him/her. This should be a quote that exhibits the true character of that subject/individual.

The introduction should contain the subject’s basic, general information such as;

  • The date of birth, and the place of birth.
  • If applicable, the death of the subject.
  • Educational background.
  • Major achievements.
  • Areas of expertise.
  • Professional experience.

Step 5: The Biography’s Introduction should have a Thesis Statement 

The thesis is the last statement in the introductory paragraph. It should be formulated in a way that the body paragraphs will support it. An example of a thesis statement is…”Even though Houston was a successful musician who inspired a myriad of people across all ages, she succumbed to the effects of cocaine abuse.”

Step 6: The body paragraphs

The body paragraphs should have information pertaining to the subject. The first aspect of consideration is how to write a good biography paper. This main points should be structured in chronological order. This will enable you to avoid the probability of having to reorganize the whole essay later. The body paragraphs contain most of the information which is acquired from the sources. If the biography is long, you can incorporate all the points below. However, if short, you may choose the most significant ones. The points to note in this section are;

  • More precise details concerning the subject’s birth and their childhood.
  • Their life in adulthood.
  • If applicable, their death and specific details about it.
  • Intriguing anecdotes or facts.
  • Quotes made by the individual.
  • The person’s photograph, especially if the biography will be show in a PowerPoint before a presentation, published online, or distributed via print.

Step 7: The conclusion

This is the last paragraph of the paper. It sums up the information provided in the body paragraphs. It should also show the impact the person has/had in the society, and how people should emulate that person.  Remember the hook you had in the introduction? This part should have the same effect, and give the reader a sense of fulfilment after reading the biography. Conclusions that simply restate the thesis are boring! End by creating that individual’s legacy and/or work, and their impact, to the contemporary society. Some questions to ask yourself here are;

  • How did the person contribute to their field of choice?
  • What is the relevance of their work in the contemporary society?
  • How do people remember him/her? What is his/her legacy?
  • Who or what did they majorly impact?

Step 8: Cite the Sources used in the Bibliography Essay

Biographies should contain information from sources such as interviews, magazines, articles, and books. All the sources paraphrased or directly quoted should be cited, and these should have corresponding endnotes, footnotes, or intext citations.

Based on the requirements of the instructions, the biography may be formatted in Chicago, APA, MLA, or other specified citation styles.

Tip: conduct deep, extensive analysis of the individual’s work and life. This will enable you to provide unique information, as opposed to giving superficial accounts. This strategy is what makes a great biography.

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