Biographies are considered one of the most fascinating forms of writing. Not only are they stories that are true, they are taking from real life people, and what other than a person's life can function as a symbol of the human condition? Good biographies set themselves apart from bad ones by the writing that either draws you into the subject’s life, or well, fails too. In addition, nothing is worse for a biography than to be boring.
A good biography is a good story. This is a narrative, rather than an expository or persuasive essay, which means that you need to incorporate many of the same elements that fiction uses without inventing untrue details, which makes for a unique challenge. As it takes specific elements of the fiction form, and the only way to understand these tropes is to see them in action. It is impossible to write a good biography without being versed in high quality biographies and stories in general. So in order to succeed, you will have to consume many examples of biographies. You will need to read a lot, to understand how to portray your ideas with grace and handiwork.
For shorter essays, perhaps, this need is not so extreme. However, you will still want to read biographies of a similar length- as it turns out, the short form a biography is the same as a biographical narrative or novel, so you will still want to make sure you understand how these short stories work.
Remember also to make sure you thoroughly research your subject. Make sure that you look at other biographical sources and be certainty that you are capturing the important parts of their life that you are covering in your essay. Research is so important because the whole draw of biography is that it is a true story, so uncovering the truth should be your first priority.
Also, if your essay is longer, feel free to start your introduction with a small anecdote form the life of your subject. This is great because it normally allows you to give this small human moment that allows your audience to emphasis with your protagonist, and it gives them a clue to the kind of person you are talking about along with information about the kind of story that you are trying to tell.
Anyway, make sure that your essay is detailed, thoughtful, and planned. Be straight to the point and remember that you tend to be telling things from a narrative point of view.
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