How to Write a Biography Essay and Get an A+

03 July, 2020

7 minutes read

Author:  Elizabeth Brown

Got a chance to write about your idol but need help with realization? Read our article to know the secrets of effective biography essay writing. Whoever you decide to write a biography essay about, don’t try to include random information at once. The person you describe would not like it. Instead, read our article about how to write a biography essay correctly and, more importantly, take pleasure in composing it. We’ll share some smart tips and tricks that you’ll find particularly useful for your writing.

biography essay

What is a biographical essay?

Some tend to mistakenly attribute biographical essay to the process of writing about themselves. But actually, biography definition has nothing to do with you. It’s more about telling the engaging story about a person’s life. This individual can be anyone: a famous historical figure, a well-known actor, politician, dancer, musician, artist, writer, inventor – you get the point. Such task sounds intriguing and interesting, and indeed it is. A biographical essay is a great chance to dilute simple academic tasks with a pinch of new article full of interesting facts and opinions.

what is a biography

Biography essay outline

Before writing a biography essay, it’s important to pay attention to essay structure and build up a biography outline. An outline is generally a schematic plan that helps to organize biography essays in accordance with the writer’s preference. In this, the primary task is to create a list of the most significant facts you’ll want to develop in the essay. The easiest way of arranging an outline is to add a numbered list indicating the main points, and a list of sub-points marked with bullets. Also, don’t forget to include a biography thesis statement that’ll sum up the main idea of your essay in one sentence.

How to start a biography essay?

Biography essay introduction

Before writing, you first need to understand what to include in a biography essay. An eloquent biography essay always starts with the introduction of a chosen person. The initial step of writing it involves the inclusion of such information as the person’s name, date of their birth, and the place they were born in. Of course, it’s not a uniform set of data necessary for this part. You can take the situation in your hands and write about some cultural or historical background surrounding one’s birthplace or the day they were born. Adding such information to the introductory part will help to create some context by connecting you and readers closer to the described character and broadening the common knowledge with more absorbing facts.

How to write a biography essay about someone else?

When people ask how to write a biography paper, the only thing they think of is a random flow of ideas about someone’s life. In fact, writing a biography paper is more complicated. The section following the introduction is devoted to life description. Here, you’ll need to feature early life and childhood of a chosen person. This part should cover general information about their parents, and divert readers’ attention to some facts related to their origin, education, and relationship status. Next, focus more on education and place where the person grew up. In this section, include more detailed information about the critical moments of their childhood life, like the name of the school they studied in or the point of moving to another city or town. Perhaps there are more facts worthy of note, such as family problems or health issues that revolved around one’s childhood. If there are such, include them as well.

The second section of your biographical essay will tell readers about someone’s adulthood. Depending on the person, this piece of story can be outlined differently. For example, you can write about their university or college life, or indicate their first job. The point here is to chronologically depict a period of moving from childhood to adult life. Then, talk about the formation of a person’s career path, starting with the first working experience and ending with the remarkable moment of revealing talents and skills that shaped their life. In the next paragraph, mention the person’s relationship during their adulthood. If applicable, describe how someone special helped them to become successful or motivated them throughout their career. Another significant aspect in this section has to do with the person’s success, in which readers could know about their notable accomplishments and achievements.

What to write in a Biography essay

The final section of a biography essay will touch the person’s current or later life. If they are alive, include the overlook of their place of living and write about their activities. You can also add such information as to their current projects or career plans, along with other meaningful facts about their life.

If the person you’re writing about is no longer living, emphasize on the brightest moments at the sunset of their life. Mention the definitive moments and aspects, and write about the cause of their deaths.

Other tips on writing a biography

If you want your biography essay to leave a great impact on readers, don’t conclude it with a simple explanation of why this or that person died and what their latest works were. This is only factual information which brings no specific value to your essay and, more importantly, doesn’t breathe life into it. To wrap up your essay content with a memorable grabber, include a couple of sentences in which write about the person’s legacy. That is, add the opinion of why this individual’s activity became an exceptional contribution to the world’s history, and why they have changed some aspects of their field.

Biography essay writing is a responsible task that aims at showing a well-acclaimed person from the best light. Therefore, you need to write about one’s life as you would about your mother – with maximum details and showing respect for that person. So follow our advice to compose an A+ biography essay that you and your audience will enjoy reading.

Note that our company provides academic writing help. You can buy a Biography essay written from scratch by our  essay writer .

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How to Outline a Biography

Last Updated: July 4, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. 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 51,220 times.

Writing a biography can seem daunting, as you are trying to explore the entirety of someone's life on the page. The key to writing a good biography is outlining it before you dive in. A strong, detailed outline will work through key events chronologically. To outline a biography, start by discussing early life and childhood. Then, go into adulthood and current life, or later life and death if the person is no longer alive.

Discussing Early Life and Childhood

Step 1 Mention the person's name, birth date, and place of birth.

  • For example, you may write, “RuPaul Andre Charles, born November 17, 1960 in San Diego, California.”

Step 2 Detail the person's parents.

  • For example, you may write, “RuPaul's mother, Ernestine Charles, was from Louisiana. RuPaul's father was Irving Charles. They divorced in 1967.”

Step 3 Talk about the location of the person's childhood.

  • For example, you may write, “RuPaul grew up in San Diego, California and moved to Atlanta, Georgia with his sister when he was 15.”

Step 4 Include the person's schooling.

  • For example, you may write, “At 15 years old, RuPaul attended a performing arts school in Atlanta. After he graduated, he focused on his budding stage career, opting not to attend college.”

Step 5 Mention details about the person's upbringing.

  • For example, you may write about the person's experience with abuse at the hands of a parent. Or you may mention that the person struggled with a learning disability in middle school that would go undiagnosed until later in their life.

Outlining Adulthood

Step 1 Talk about the person's adult education, if applicable.

  • For example, you may write, “Martha Graham went to Brown University from 1967-1981, majoring in dance. She worked under famous dancers and choreographers in the performance industry at Brown. She graduated with honors.”

Step 2 Outline key relationships in the person's adult life.

  • For example, you may write, “Martha Graham met choreographer Dash Nam in a dance class at Brown. They became romantic and professional partners, collaborating on a number of early performances. Nam would later play a major role in Graham's performing company in New York City.”

Step 3 Mention the person's career.

  • For example, you may write, “Martha Graham worked as a bartender while at Brown to support herself. She then created performances for a small stipend until she was able to open her own performing company in 1987 with the help of Dash Nam.”

Step 4 List the person's achievements and accomplishments.

  • For example, you may write, “Martha Graham was rejected from several major dance companies and was unemployed for several years. In frustration, Graham decided to open her own dance company and studio, using funds from friends and colleagues. It later became the premier dance company in America.”

Detailing Current Life and Impact

Step 1 Discuss the person's current situation in life.

  • For example, you may write, “RuPaul currently resides on a ranch in Wyoming with his partner of twenty years, Australian painter George LeBar. He continues to produce several successful television shows and is a continued advocate for the LGBTQ community.”

Step 2 Detail the later life and death of the person.

  • For example, you may write, “In her later life, Graham fell into a depression and battled alcohol addiction. She died in 1991 at the age of 96 from pneumonia. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico.”

Step 3 Reflect on the person's influence and impact.

  • You can also include your own opinions about the person's overall life. You may include a short section on the impact the person had, or continues to have, on you.
  • For example, you may write about how the person influenced a generation of artists or how the person impacted the way we view technology in the 21st century.

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  • ↑ https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/writing/how-to-write-a-biography.html
  • ↑ https://www.apsu.edu/writingcenter/writing-resources/Biography-Outline.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-bio/

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How to write a biography essay

Ibrahim Akturk

  • March 29, 2022

A biography essay is a type of academic writing that tells the story of someone’s life, typically focusing on their achievements, struggles, and impact on the world.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write a compelling biography essay that engages readers and tells the story of a person’s life in a meaningful way.

Choose a person to write a biography

First you need to choose a person to write about. The person should have made significant contributions to his/her respective field. This person should also be well-known as you will need resources to find information.

For this guide, we will be writing our biography essay on French-Algerian philosopher and author Albert Camus . There’re some reasons why Albert Camus is a suitable topic for a biography essay:

  • He is an influential person in his field.
  • He has many works that we can refer to in our essay .​
  • There are many reliable sources where we can find information about him. ​

Gather information on the person

You need some information about your the person you chose. While getting this information, pay attention to two main factors: the credibility of your source and what information you are putting in your essay.

Credibility of your source

  • Does this source have any authors and/or editors listed?
  • Does this source cite or link to trustworthy sources?​
  • Is this source prepared professionally?​

If your sources check all the boxes, they are most likely reliable sources . However, if a source doesn’t have any authors, has no citation, or is poorly written, consider it risky.

Information included in the essay

  • Is this information useful in the context of my essay?
  • Is this development remarkable in my subject’s life story? ​

You can definitely add the information if they meet these criteria. If not, it’s best to keep them out.

Use of important information on the person

Now, we will be choosing information from Albert Camus’ life story to include in our biography essay. 

  • Albert Camus was born on 7 November 1913 in French Algeria. (We choose to include this information because it is reasonable to start with this line for a biography essay.)
  • He published his essay The Myth of Sisyphus in the year 1942. (This information is essential because this essay explains his notion of “the absurd,” a philosophy he is widely known for.)​
  • He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. (This event is a significant acknowledgment of his works; therefore, it should be included.)​
  • He died on 4 January 1960 in France. (A reasonable ending point for a biography essay.) ​

Create an outline

essay outline structure

Preparing an outline is essential for biography essays just like any other essay . You can follow our typical outline preparing process in this step because biography essays also adhere to the traditional essay structure.

Biography Essay Outline Example

Albert Camus Biography Essay

  • Open with a curious quote by Albert Camus
  • Explain how Camus contributed to his field
  • Further explore Albert Camus' stance on the field
  • Present your thesis statement
  • Topic sentence of your paragraph
  • Albert's accomplishments and more personal information
  • Closing sentence
  • Restate your thesis statement
  • Mention the importance of Albert Camus
  • Finish your essay with memorable concluding sentences by highlighting Camus' importance

Important reminder

Write an introduction.

The introduction paragraph is crucial. Because you need to grab the reader’s attention at this part. This is where a hook sentence is useful. With a hook sentence , you can start your essay in multiple interesting directions for you reader: 

  • Start your introduction with a quote from your subject, especially one that reveals their personality.
  • Start with an intriguing story or an interesting anecdote about your subject. ​
  • Start by informing the reader about a significant accomplishment of your subject.​

Biography essay introduction example

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” This is a quote by French-Algerian philosopher, writer, and journalist Albert Camus. Camus was born in French Algeria on 7 November 1913. Opening: Intriguing quote that grabs the reader’s attention and summarizes Camus’ philosophy He is one of the most prominent writers of absurdist philosophical thought. Subject: A sentence which explains the subject’s contribution to their field. Through his works, Camus contributed to the rise of the absurdist philosophy, which was essentially a response to nihilism. Stance: Further explanation of the subject’s stance on the field He wrote works that conveyed an abiding faith in the human race’s displaced but still righteous situation. Thesis statement: You highlight your stand and main focus of the essay.

Biography essay body paragraphs

This is the section where the results of your research come in. Like other types of essays, body paragraphs are the central part of your biography essay (see biography essay example ).

Through these paragraphs, you will discuss the milestones in your subject’s life, their accomplishments, and their works.

Biography essay body paragraph example

During his literary career, Camus published his works in three cycles. In each cycle, he published a novel, an essay, and a play. The first cycle of his works was on “the absurd,” and they were published from 1942 to 1944. Topic sentence: Further exploration of the claim presented in the introduction. This cycle’s works were some of his most significant works: The Stranger as the novel, The Myth of Sisyphus as the essay, and Caligula as the play. Camus also explored the concepts “the revolt” and “the love” through the cycle structure. Subject’s accomplishments: Reveal of the subject’s extensive work on the field Through his major works, Camus earned the Nobel Prize for Literature, and he then published his work named Algerian Chronicles. This work revealed his pacifist tendencies. Personal information: Brief introduction into the subject’s personal reflections. After Camus’ death, two more works of his were released. One is his novel titled A Happy Death and an unfinished autobiographical novel named The First Man. Some of the significant themes Camus explores through his literary career are alienation, rebellion, and guilt. Closing sentence: Information on the subject’s identity.

Biography essay conclusion

In your conclusion paragraph , what you need to do is to bring in your final thoughts. Do not make the mistake (see common mistakes ) of only repeating the claims you made throughout the essay.

As an alternative, you can choose to tie your subject’s legacy into the current day . You can ask yourself these questions to figure out what to say in your conclusion paragraph:

  • What was my subject’s contribution to the ideas/events that are relevant today?
  • Are they still remembered? How do people honor their work?​
  • Out of the people that are significant today, who did my subject influence?​

Biography essay conclusion example

Camus died on 4 January 1960, when he was only 46 years old. He died in a car crash, and many scholars point out the “absurdity” of his death. Restatement: Connection with the subject’s main works Since Camus himself had previously stated that the most absurd way of dying he could think of would be a car accident, people regard his death as ironic. Today, Albert Camus is still considered to be one of the most significant thinkers of Western philosophy. Importance of the person: The subject’s relevancy today He is acknowledged as one of the most critical contributors of the absurdist philosophy. He is referred to as one of the best literary writers of his genre and one of the best thinkers of his age. Closing statement: Concluding sentences by highlighting the subject’s influence

Now you know all the separate parts of a biography essay and how to create them.  Remember that these steps can be used in all academic essays.

Before closing this article, let’s have a look at an extensive biography essay example on Mustafa Kemal Ataturk , you see below. 

5-Paragraph Biography Essay Example

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: The Modernizer of Turkey

Introduction

Body paragraphs, key takeaways.

  • A biography essay should tell the story of a person's life, but also focus on their contributions and impact.
  • Start by doing thorough research and organizing your information into a chronological outline.
  • Use vivid details and anecdotes to bring your subject to life and make the essay engaging for the reader.
  • Incorporate analysis and reflection to help the reader understand the significance of the subject's life and work.
  • End with a strong conclusion that summarizes the key points and leaves the reader with a lasting impression.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you start a biography essay.

Start your biography essay by giving a general information about your subject, such as their profession or importance.

What is biography example?

Biography is a literary work in which a person’s life is narrated. They are based on facts, and the main purpose of them is educating people about well-known individuals.

How do you write an outline for a biography?

A proper biography outline should include details about the information that will be presented in the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

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Biographical Essay Examples: Learn How to Tell a Compelling Life Story in Writing

Explore the art of storytelling through captivating biographical essays. Join us on a journey of discovery as we unveil inspiring examples that teach you how to craft compelling life stories. Step into the world of biography writing and learn how to engage readers with fascinating narratives. Get ready to bring extraordinary lives to life on the page!

The art of storytelling has been an integral part of human culture since the dawn of civilization. It is through stories that we learn about the lives of others, understand different perspectives, and gain insight into the human experience. Biographical essays, in particular, provide a unique opportunity to delve into the life story of an individual and share their journey with readers. In this article, we will explore biographical essay examples and learn how to tell a compelling life story in writing.

What Is a Biographical Essay?

A biographical essay is a piece of writing in which you narrate the life story of an individual. It provides an opportunity for you to conduct research and discover fascinating details and perspectives concerning someone. A biographical essay is also a written account of an individual's life, highlighting their achievements, experiences, and personal characteristics. It can be about historical figures, famous personalities, or even ordinary people who have made a significant impact on the world or those around them. Biographical essays are often used in academic settings to provide insight into a person's life and contributions, but they can also be written for personal, professional, or entertainment purposes.

One of the key elements of a compelling biographical essay is a well-crafted narrative. The narrative structure helps to engage readers and keeps them interested in the story being told. A 

A good biographical essay should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, just like any other story. It should have a strong opening that hooks the reader, a well-paced middle that provides details about the person's life, and a satisfying conclusion that ties everything together.

Biographical Essay Writing Tips

Writing a biographical essay requires careful planning, research, and storytelling skills to create a compelling narrative that captures the essence of a person's life. Here are some tips to help you craft an engaging biographical essay:

Choose a Fascinating Subject:

The first step in writing a biographical essay is to choose a subject whose life story is intriguing and resonates with your audience. Whether it's a historical figure, a famous personality, or an ordinary person who has made a difference, ensure that your subject has a compelling life story that is worth exploring and sharing.

Conduct Thorough Research:

Research is the foundation of any biographical essay. Conduct in-depth research on your subject, including their background, achievements, challenges, and contributions. Utilize primary and secondary sources, such as biographies, memoirs, interviews, and historical records, to gather accurate and reliable information. This research will provide the basis for your essay and ensure that your writing is well-informed and credible.

Develop a Clear Outline:

Before you start writing, develop a clear outline that organizes your ideas and provides a structure for your essay. Outline the main sections of your essay , such as the introduction, background information, key events or milestones, challenges faced, achievements, and conclusion. This will help you maintain a coherent and organized flow throughout your essay.

Tell a Story:

A biographical essay is not just a collection of facts, but a compelling story that engages the reader. Use storytelling techniques, such as vivid descriptions, dialogues, and anecdotes, to bring your subject's life to life on the page. Focus on key events or moments that shaped your subject's life and highlight their emotions, motivations, and experiences. This will create a personal connection between the reader and your subject, making your essay more engaging and memorable.

Be Objective and Balanced:

While it's important to be inspired by your subject, strive to maintain objectivity and balance in your writing. Present a well-rounded and nuanced view of your subject, including their strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures. Avoid bias or exaggeration, and ensure that your essay is based on factual information and credible sources.

Provide Context:

Provide context for your subject's life story by incorporating relevant historical, social, or cultural information. This will help readers understand the background and circumstances in which your subject lived and provide a deeper understanding of their life and achievements. However, be mindful of not overwhelming your essay with excessive background information, and focus on what is relevant to your subject's story.

Edit and Revise:

Like any other form of writing, editing, and revising are crucial in crafting a compelling biographical essay. After completing your first draft, take the time to review and revise your essay for clarity, coherence, and flow. Check for any factual inaccuracies, grammar, or spelling errors, and ensure that your essay follows a logical structure. Consider seeking feedback from peers or mentors to gain different perspectives and improve your essay.

Show Respect and Empathy:

When writing about someone's life, it's important to show respect and empathy towards your subject. Avoid sensationalism or exploitation of their life story and strive to depict them in a dignified and compassionate manner. Acknowledge their achievements, challenges, and contributions with sincerity and respect, and be mindful of their privacy and personal boundaries.

Be Authentic:

Finally, be authentic in your writing. Share your voice and perspective while staying true to the facts and nuances of your subject's life. Bring your unique perspective and insights to the essay, and strive to make it a genuine reflection of your writing style and personal connection with your subject.

In conclusion, writing a biographical essay requires careful research, storytelling skills, and a respectful

Personal Essay

My Journey: Embracing Life's Adventures

Life is an unpredictable adventure, full of twists and turns that shape who we become. Throughout my journey, I have encountered challenges, triumphs, and everything in between. I have learned that

Resilience and perseverance are crucial in overcoming obstacles, and every experience, whether positive or negative, has valuable lessons to offer. I have also realized the importance of cherishing the present moment and embracing new opportunities with an open heart and mind. Life may be uncertain, but I am determined to make the most of it, explore new horizons, and continually grow and evolve along the way.

Essay Examples

"The Untold Story of Nelson Mandela: From Prisoner to President"

This biographical essay tells the life story of Nelson Mandela, a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. The essay starts with an attention-grabbing opening that introduces the reader to Mandela's imprisonment on Robben Island and the hardships he faced during his time in captivity. It then delves into his early life, education, and activism against apartheid, painting a vivid picture of his journey from prisoner to president. The essay includes anecdotes, quotes, and historical context that provide a well-rounded portrayal of Mandela's life and legacy.

"The Power of Perseverance: The Life of Helen Keller"

This biographical essay tells the remarkable story of Helen Keller, an American author, political activist, and lecturer who was both blind and deaf. The essay begins with an engaging introduction that highlights Keller's disabilities and the challenges she faced from a young age. It then delves into her childhood, her relationship with her teacher Anne Sullivan, and her accomplishments as a writer and social activist. The essay uses vivid descriptions and sensory details to transport the reader into Keller's world and conveys the incredible strength of her character.

"Rising Above Adversity: The Journey of Malala Yousafzai"

This biographical essay tells the inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and women's rights who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban. The essay begins with a gripping prologue that describes the attack on Malala and sets the stage for her remarkable journey. It then traces her early life, her advocacy for girls' education, and the challenges she faced under the Taliban's rule. The essay includes anecdotes, quotes, and personal reflections that provide a compelling portrayal of Malala's courage and resilience in the face of adversity.

Writing Inspiration

Writing a biographical essay can be an inspiring and fulfilling endeavor. As a writer, you have the unique opportunity to delve into the life story of an individual and share their experiences, achievements, and personal characteristics with readers. Here are some sources of inspiration that can help you find compelling stories for your biographical essay.

Historical Figures:

Throughout history, there have been countless individuals who have made significant contributions to society, shaped the course of events, or left a lasting legacy. From political leaders and innovators to artists and activists, the lives of historical figures are often rich with intriguing stories that can make for compelling biographical essays. You can choose to write about well-known figures like Martin Luther King Jr. , Marie Curie , or Leonardo da Vinci , or explore lesser-known figures whose stories deserve to be told.

Famous Personalities:

Celebrities, athletes, musicians, and other famous personalities often have fascinating life stories that can make for compelling biographical essays. These individuals often face unique challenges, overcome obstacles, and achieve remarkable success in their respective fields. Writing about their journey, struggles, and achievements can provide insights into their lives beyond the public persona, and offer readers a glimpse into the realities of fame and fortune.

Ordinary People:

While historical figures and famous personalities may be popular choices for biographical essays, the lives of ordinary people can also be a rich source of inspiration. Everyday individual who have faced adversity, achieved personal milestones, or made a difference in their communities can have compelling life stories that resonate with readers. It could be a family member, a neighbor, a teacher, or someone you have come across in your community whose story has profoundly touched you. Writing about their life can shed light on the power of resilience, determination, and the human spirit.

Personal Experiences:

Another source of inspiration for a biographical essay can be your own experiences. Reflecting on your own life story or the lives of those close to you can provide unique insights and perspectives that can make for a compelling narrative. It could be a story of overcoming challenges, pursuing a passion, or learning from failures and successes. Sharing your personal experiences in a biographical essay can be deeply introspective and provide a genuine connection with your readers.

Researching various topics , events, or historical periods can also lead you to interesting life stories that can inspire your biographical essay. Exploring different eras, cultures, or social movements can uncover fascinating individuals whose stories are worth telling.

Essay Structure

The structure of a biographical essay typically follows a basic essay structure consisting of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. However, there may be slight variations depending on the purpose of the essay and the specific requirements of the assignment.

Here is a breakdown of the typical structure of a biographical essay:

Introduction

The introduction sets the tone for the essay and should grab the reader's attention. It should provide some background information about the subject of the essay and include a thesis statement that summarizes the main point of the essay.

Body paragraphs

The body of the essay contains the main content and should be organized into several paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on a different aspect of the subject's life or accomplishments, such as childhood, education , career, or personal relationships. It should provide specific details, anecdotes, and examples to support the thesis statement and provide a clear understanding of the subject's life.

The conclusion ties everything together and should restate the thesis statement differently. It should summarize the key points made in the body paragraphs and leave the reader with a lasting impression. The conclusion may also provide some final thoughts or reflections on the subject's life and legacy.

Famous Personality

Allama Iqbal: A Visionary Poet and Philosopher

Allama Iqbal, also known as Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, was a prominent poet, philosopher, and politician who is regarded as one of the most influential thinkers in the history of modern South Asia. Born on November 9, 1877, in Sialkot, a city in present-day Pakistan, Iqbal grew up in a devout Muslim family and was deeply influenced by the teachings of Islam from a young age.

Iqbal's early education took place in Sialkot, and he later went to Lahore, where he completed his Bachelor's degree from Government College. He then traveled to England to pursue higher education, where he obtained a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Cambridge University and later completed his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Munich University in Germany. During his time in Europe, Iqbal was exposed to various intellectual and philosophical ideas, which would later shape his worldview and contribute to his renowned poetry and philosophical writings.

One of Iqbal's most significant contributions was his poetry, which is known for its rich imagery, deep philosophical insights, and powerful messages of spiritual awakening and social reform. Iqbal's poetry was deeply rooted in his love for Islam and his longing for the revival of Islamic values and principles in the face of colonialism, social injustices, and moral decay.

In his poetry, Iqbal emphasized the importance of self-realization, self-respect, and self-reliance, and called for Muslims to rise above their individual and societal challenges and strive for excellence. He actively participated in the struggle for the rights of Muslims in British India and advocated for the establishment of an independent Muslim state. Iqbal's famous Allahabad Address in 1930, where he proposed the idea of a separate Muslim state in the Indian subcontinent, laid the foundation for the creation of Pakistan as an independent nation for Muslims in 1947.

Despite his remarkable contributions, Iqbal's life was not without challenges. He faced criticism, opposition, and personal setbacks during his lifetime, but his unwavering commitment to his beliefs and his passion for serving humanity remained unshakable

Life Stories

Throughout history, countless individuals have left indelible marks on the world through their remarkable lives. From visionaries and leaders to artists and activists, their stories inspire and captivate us, showcasing the boundless potential of the human spirit. Here are three compelling biographical stories of individuals whose lives have had a lasting impact on society.

Nelson Mandela: The Courageous Anti-Apartheid Activist

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, born on July 18, 1918, in a small village in South Africa, grew up witnessing the oppressive system of apartheid, which enforced racial segregation and discrimination. As a young man, Mandela became a vocal advocate for the rights of Black South Africans and joined the African National Congress (ANC) to fight against apartheid.

Mandela's activism and resistance against the apartheid regime led to his imprisonment for 27 years, during which he became an international symbol of the anti-apartheid movement. Despite the harsh conditions of imprisonment, Mandela remained steadfast in his beliefs and never wavered in his pursuit of justice and equality.

After his release from prison in 1990, Mandela continued his fight against apartheid and worked toward reconciliation and unity among all racial groups in South Africa. In 1994, he became the country's first Black president through the first fully democratic elections, and he served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Mandela's leadership and unwavering commitment to justice and equality continue to inspire people around the world, making him an iconic figure in the fight against oppression.

Frida Kahlo: The Resilient Mexican Artist

Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderon, known as Frida Kahlo, was born on July 6, 1907, in Mexico City, Mexico. She is widely regarded as one of the most prominent and influential artists of the 20th century, known for her surrealist and vibrant self-portraits that conveyed her physical and emotional pain.

Kahlo's life was marked by immense physical and emotional challenges. At the age of 18, she was involved in a devastating bus accident that left her with severe injuries, including a broken spine and pelvis. She endured numerous surgeries and spent months in bed recovering, during which she turned to painting as a means of expressing her emotions and experiences.

Kahlo's art was deeply personal and often depicted her physical and emotional pain, her Mexican heritage, and her feminist ideologies. Her paintings often featured vivid colors, surreal elements, and symbolic imagery, which earned her international recognition and acclaim.

Despite her physical challenges, Kahlo's resilience and determination to pursue her passion for art never wavered. She continued to paint and create despite her chronic pain and multiple health issues, and her art continues to captivate and inspire audiences around the world to this day.

Malala Yousafzai: The Fearless Education Activist

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Swat District, Pakistan. From a young age, Malala was a passionate advocate for education and girls' rights in her native Swat Valley, where the Taliban had enforced a ban on girls' education.

At the age of 11, Malala began writing a blog for BBC Urdu under a pseudonym, where she documented her life under Taliban rule and her determination to fight for education. Her activism gained international attention, and she became a prominent voice for girls' education worldwide.

Embarking on the journey of life, we encounter a tapestry of experiences that shape who we are and add depth to our existence. From overcoming obstacles and celebrating growth to embracing new opportunities, we come to appreciate the captivating unpredictability of life's adventures. Each of us holds a unique journey, filled with invaluable lessons and cherished memories that fuel personal development. 

When it comes to writing biographical essays, tools like Jenni.ai can be a game-changer. With its AI-powered features, Jenni.ai offers invaluable assistance in developing strong thesis statements, and helping you produce high-quality articles. By leveraging this, you can save time and energy while producing exceptional work. 

Embrace the art of writing biographical essays, and unlock new avenues of academic and professional success by following the steps outlined in this article and harnessing the power of Jenni.ai. Seize the opportunity to become a skilled essay writer by signing up for Jenni.ai today , and embark on a transformative journey towards achieving your writing goals!

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How to write a biography essay

The complete guide on biographical storytelling

Anyone can learn how to write a perfect biography essay about someone else’s life by making sure to focus on true, objective facts about a specific person. First, determine the scope of the person’s life (years), pick a central theme, and write out the biography using the classic narrative arc.

Many college courses include an essay writing component, and a biography essay is one of the types of essays that you may encounter, especially if you are taking courses in liberal arts disciplines such as history or cultural studies. This guide from Ultius will provide you with a thorough overview of how to write an effective biography essay. The guide will include the following sections:

  • purpose of a biography essay
  • biography and culture
  • elements of a good biography essay
  • how to write a great biography essay
  • samples/examples
  • additional information

After reading this guide, you should feel confident in your ability to write a strong biography essay, or at least in your ability to find the right kind of help to write such an essay.

Purpose of a biography essay

"Biography" literally means the story of a life. So, when you write a biography essay, what you are trying to do is to write the story of someone's life. ( Autobiography is a related concept that refers to the story of your own life.) If your biography essay is successful, then by the end of reading it, the reader should have a clear idea of what your subject did in his/her life and why his/her life was interesting and/or important enough to be the subject of a biography essay.

According to the Ultius glossary, a biography is a detailed descriptions of a famous person’s life and accomplishments (as a genre). Biographies typically contain intricate details of the subject’s personal life and sometimes include an analysis of the person’s personality and attributes.

A biography essay is similar to other forms of essays, such as the narrative essay, insofar as it involves telling a story. A biography essay, however, is supposed to be rooted in historical fact, and it should describe your subject using objective tone and language.

Narrative essay how-to guide. Click here is you are interested in learning how to write a narrative essay instead.

There are two important things to remember about a biography essay.

1. It is a true story that describes the life of your subject. You are not allowed to just make things up, and there should be scholarly documentation confirming that what you are writing is valid.

2. It is a story about someone else, generally a famous historical figure . If you were writing about yourself, that would be a memoir, which for present purposes should be considered as different from a biographical essay.

Only use details and facts that can be verified through documents or existing sources. An important hallmark of biography essays is that they are true.

The importance of biography essays

The English writer Samuel Johnson had this to say about biographies:

"No species of writing seems more worthy of cultivation than biography, since none can be more delightful or more useful, none can more certainly enchain the heart by irresistible interest, or more widely diffuse instruction to every diversity of condition.”

The main idea here is that my reading biographies, people can gain insight into the lives of other people who have done amazing things. This can be enchanting in its own right, and it can also provide the reader with inspiration for his own life and help the reader look at his own life with fresh eyes.

Stuck with writing? Essay services from Ultius can help with biography writing.

For example, are you interested in doing philosophy? If so, you may find it inspiring to read biographies such as:

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius , by Ray Monk
  • Albert Camus: A Life , by Olivier Todd
  • Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography , by Joakim Garff

A nice thing about the genre of biography is also that biographies are written about a huge range of different figures in different disciplines, meaning that you can find biographical subject that may specifically interest you or move your heart.

Biography and culture

Biographies play an important role in preserving human cultural memory: it is like history, except focused on the life of one person. People have been telling stories about heroes and other admirable figures since the beginning of the human species.

Alexander the Great mosaic

Modern biography, though, is somewhat different from the old heroic stories, in that modern biography is supposed to be objective and scholarly, and it is generally rooted in a secular view of time and history. In other words, modern biographies are based in reason more than imagination, and they are not supposed to include magical and/or irrational events.

Biography vs. legend

Biography is a modern scholarly discipline that has some similarities to the much older genre of the legend, but it is also different in some important ways.

So, the genre of biography carries on the old tradition of telling stories about the lives of admirable figures. But whereas the old legends were more imaginative and quasi-fictional in their tellings, modern biography is supposed to be based on reason and objective, verifiable facts about the life of the subject.

Elements of a good biography essay

In order to write a compelling biography essay, there are certain elements that you will have to include. Here are some of them.

Linear narrative arc

This may seem somewhat obvious, but a human life naturally resembles a story, starting with birth and ending in death, with various drama and events happening in between. This is the natural arc that you should follow when writing your biography essay. In general, you should begin your essay with the birth of your historical figure and then follow him/her through the events of his/her life until death.

The plot rainbow | Ultius

Some biography essays might be able to get with innovations such as non-linear structure, but unless you really know what you are doing, that can get very confusing, and your biography essay would be difficult to follow. So, for all intent and purpose, we can say that following a linear narrative arc is a best practice for writing a biography essay.

Different types of narrative structures

These are some of the possible types of narrative structure. When writing a biography essay, you are strongly advised to stick to the linear structure.

The linear structure is the standard for most biographies; it starts at a specific point in the protagonist's life and moves forward in chronological order. Nonlinear structure is more complex as this style moves between time periods with time skips and flashbacks. Thematic structure strategically conveys given and new information to frame and insert specific themes.

Choose a compelling biography essay subject

For your biography essay, your subject will be the person whose life story you will be writing. In order for your biography essay to be effective, you will have to pick a subject who is interesting, important, or otherwise qualified to be the subject of a biography essay. You should ask yourself the question: why choose your subject, and what has your subject done that deserves to be recorded and remembered?

Of course, there's a sense in which every single human life is interesting and important. But for the purposes of your biography essay, you will want to dig deeper and consider why your subject is worthy of being remembered in the collective cultural memory.

An effective biography usually focuses on someone who has affected history, or someone who has achieved a high level of excellence within his/her discipline or field.

Søren Kierkegaard: A very important philosopher

Portrait of Søren Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard would be an example a good subject for a biography essay, because his works are generally considered a turning point in modern philosophy.

The subject of your biography essay does not necessarily need to be well-known. In fact, it can be a lot of fun to dig into the life of someone is not well known but should be. The important thing is that your subject must be compelling, and there must be a solid reason why his/her story should be told.

Also, when picking a subject, you may want to make sure that you actually like your subject. That can make writing a biography essay more fun, and your respect for the subject (or lack thereof) will also probably come across in your writing. If you want to convince others that your subject is compelling, then it would help if you find him/her compelling.

Choose biographical (life) events wisely

A lot can happen in a life, and it would probably be impossible for you to include everything there is to know about your subject within a single biography essay. So, you should choose the high point, or the most important points, and then focus on those.

Events in the life of Kierkegaard

These are key events that could be the focus of a biography essay on Kierkegaard.

Garff, Joakim. Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography. Princeton: Princeton U P, 2007.

How to write a great biography essay

Now that you know about the elements of a biography essay, you can follow these steps in order to ensure that your biography essay turns out to be a success.

Writing a Biography Essay | Ultius

Next, integrate the specific biography related aspects listed below.

Determine the scope of your biographical essay

Again, your biography essay won't be able to include everything there is to know about your subject. So, you will want to map out the scope of your biography essay before you get started. The birth and death of your subject are the logical starting and ending points for your essay. Then, you will want to select a few events or accomplishments in the life of your subject that are worthy of remembrance.

You can develop a full-fledged outline, or you can use a table like the one developed above. Either way, though, you will have to have a clear idea of where you will begin, where you will end, and the path that you will take from the beginning to the end.

Compile credible sources

Your biography essay has to be rooted in verifiable facts about the life of your subject. This means that it is important that you identify and document the sources of your information. The essay sources should generally be scholarly in nature, and you should avoid using websites to the greatest extent possible. This is because it is often difficult to tell whether the content on websites have been drawn from credible sources.

Questions to ask when compiling sources

Questions to ask when finding sources

If there are references listed on a website about your subject, then you should trace those references back to the original academic sources. Those are the sources you should use for your biography essay.

The differences between primary and secondary sources | Ultius

Write in a clear and compelling style

Remember: with your biography essay, you are at least partly trying to show your reader why your subject is interesting and why he/she deserves to have an essay written about him/her.

Your interest in your subject should come across in your writing style. After all, if you feel bored with your subject, then why should anyone else pay attention?

The language you use should be scholarly (but still filled with imagery ), but you should also focus on varying sentence structure, using excellent word choice, and other writing techniques that tell the life story of your subject in a compelling way that does justice to the importance of your subject.

Samples/examples

See the example biographical essay below for a clear example of how it needs to be written.

As the sample shows, it’s very important to be focused on true details. Please see the list of blog posts below for more examples of biography essays:

  • Biography essay on Hillary Clinton
  • Biography essay on Frank Rosolino
  • Short essay on Edgar Allan Poe

If you need more help or would like something written for your own needs, consider buying custom essays from Ultius . Our talented writes can help you get something done in as fast as three hours.

Additional information

That brings us to the close of this guide on the biography essay. Here is a recapitulation of some of the best practices that have been covered here.

Develop a focused arc

You should use a linear narrative structure, starting with the birth of your subject, ending with their death, and focusing on selected key events and accomplishments in the subject's life.

Write in the scholarly mode

Although a biography essay is a kind of "story," it should still be written in a rational, scholarly way, and referencing in MLA or Chicago style is usually required for this kind of essay.

Love your subject

If you get to choose your subject, then you should pick a subject that you personally admire. This will make the writing process more fun, and your interest will also show in your writing and make the biography essay more enjoyable for the reader.

Find help if you need it

Finally, Ultius has plenty of resources that can help you write a successful biography essay and hone your skills as a writer. Please feel free to lean on us.

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How to write a Perfect Biography Essay about Anyone

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A biography essay is an essay that focuses on the life of a person. The person is usually famous ? a politician, an entrepreneur, an inventor, an author, an artist, or a historical figure.

How to write a biography essay from scratch

When you are asked to write a biography essay on a person, your work is to research and detail the key facts about the person. Anyone can write a biographical essay if they plan adequately and know what falls where. If you take a history, cultural studies, leadership, English, hospitality, and science-based course, you are guaranteed to write at least one biography essay.

Since biography essays are usually written on famous personalities, you should always focus your essay on that person?s achievements. Besides, ensure that you reveal the contributions of that person to the world. Doing this in an organized manner will make your essay interesting and increase your chances of getting a good grade.

This post reveals everything important you need to know about writing biography essays.

What Is a Biography Essay?

By definition, a biography essay is an essay on the life of a famous personality written by another person other than the subject . Therefore, when you are asked to write a biography of a person, you are supposed to focus on their life, challenges, philosophies, principles, and achievements.

For example, suppose you are asked to write a biography essay on Barrack Obama. In that case, your essay should focus on the political journey of Obama to the presidency, the achievements of his administration, and his legacy.

It is important to do thorough research when you are asked to write a biography essay on someone. This should be the case even when you know a lot about that person. The research will help you to uncover important facts and dates. Proper research will also give you reliable information and credible sources to use.

A biography is usually not a long paper. It can be a 1000-words essay or 500 words essay . The professors and instructors prefer shorter biography essays because it eases their burden when marking. The least word count for a biography essay is 250 words.

Purpose of Writing a Biography Essay

The purpose of a biography essay is to enable the reader to fully understand the person who is the subject of the essay and the contributions they have made. So, when you are asked to write a biography essay, your task will be to make sure that the essay focuses on the person and their key achievements.

The subjects of biography essays are almost always famous personalities. This makes them somewhat easy to write because there is usually plenty of online information on famous people. However, while there is plenty of information, your goal during research is to uncover credible details on the subject of your essay.

If you do this well and increase the reader?s understanding of the subject of your essay, you will have achieved the purpose/objective of writing a biography essay.

Biography essay vs. Autobiography essay vs. profile essay vs. narrative essay

Although a biographical essay tells a story, it differs from narrative essays, autobiography essays, profile essays, and narrative essays.

A biographic essay is usually formal, meaning it should use an objective tone and language. A biography writer tells a story about someone else other than themselves. It should be a true story based on scholarly references and sources.

Let us compare the four types of essays head-to-head.

Steps to writing a good biography essay

If you are assigned to write a biographical essay or biography essay, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Read the instructions twice or thrice

The first step you need to take to write a good biography essay is to read the instructions twice or thrice. When reading the instructions, try to really understand them. The purpose of reading the instructions several times is to make sure you truly understand them.

If the instructions require you to choose a subject , you should choose a subject you will be excited to write about or one that inspires you. Doing this will make it more exciting for you to research and write your essay.

Step 2: Conduct thorough research

After reading the instructions and choosing a subject, you should conduct thorough research. Since biography essays are usually written on famous persons, you should be able to find plenty of information on them online. Try to spend about 30 minutes online to find out everything you need to know about the subject.

Every time you come across important facts, events, names, or dates related to your subject, you should note them down. You should also note the strong opinions others have on your subject when you come across them. Make sure you only take information or details from credible or reliable sources. And when you take information, make sure you also note down your sources.

Thorough research will give you a clearer picture of the subject of your essay.

Step 3: Create an outline

Upon conducting thorough research, you should create a proper outline. Your outline should have five paragraphs ? an introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Of course, if your professor wants a shorter or longer essay, you should follow their instruction.

When creating an outline at this stage, simply create something straightforward. A well-organized outline will help you to write a logical and flowing essay. In addition, it will make your essay easy to read and increase your likelihood of getting a high grade.

As you write the outline, remember to formulate a catchy title for your biographical essay.

Step 4: Write the introduction

After creating a detailed but straightforward outline, the next thing you need to do is to start writing. First, start writing your essay by expanding the introduction part of your outline .

The introduction should start with a quote about or by your subject. You can also use an interesting fact about the subject, as long as you grab the attention of your audience . It could also start with an interesting fact about the subject.

Write the quote or fact, and then provide a general introduction about the subject of your essay. Do not forget to make sure your introduction has a nice sentence-to-sentence flow. Use transition words and phrases to enhance flow where necessary.

You can also signpost ideas in your introduction paragraph so that your readers are not caught unawares with your written content.

Step 5: Write your thesis statement

After writing your introduction, the last sentence in your introduction should be your thesis statement. If you have already created a good outline, it will certainly have a thesis.

Transfer the thesis you created to your essay. Refine the thesis statement if you need to, at this stage, to make it better or more accommodative of what you want to write.

Step 6: Write body paragraphs

You should share all the information you gathered in your research in the body paragraphs. Then, of course, you should write your body paragraphs by expanding the body paragraph points you outlined in your outline.

If you created a good outline, each body paragraph will focus on one argument or point. Of course, the point will be in support of the thesis statement. All your body paragraphs should have enough evidence, proof, examples, or details.

Remember to adhere to the paragraphing rules in academic writing so that you leave the professor or markers with no option other than awarding your biography essay top marks.

Step 7: Write the conclusion

The conclusion paragraph is the last paragraph in a biography essay. Your conclusion paragraph should summarize the main points in your body paragraphs. It should not include any new details or information about your subject.

After summarizing your main points, you should end your essay with a closing statement. The statement should either focus on the biggest achievement or the legacy of the subject of your essay.

Step 8: Refine your essay

After writing your closing statement, you should go through it and try to make it better. Your purpose should be to make sure that you have offered a detailed account of the life and the achievements of your subject. Make sure you offer as many details as possible so that no reader can dismiss your essay as a superficial account of the subject?s life story.

Step 9: Proofread and edit

This is the last step when writing a biography essay. At this stage, you are done writing. All you need to do is to proofread and edit your essay. So, go through your essay slowly to discover and edit all types of typing and grammar mistakes. Correct every error you see.

In case you notice any sentence that is complex or difficult to understand, you should also correct it. Correct it and make it simple or easy to understand. After proofreading and editing your essay, you should give it to a friend or relative to read it with a fresh pair of eyes. They could help identify the errors or mistakes you may have missed. Alternatively, you could use an online grammar checker to find the errors or mistakes you have missed.

After eliminating all mistakes and errors, you will be good to go. Simply submit your essay and wait for the results.

Elements of a Good Biography Essay

A good biography essay has three key elements ? a singular subject, life events, and a linear narrative arc. Your biography essay should certainly have a singular subject, and the subject should be worth talking about or discussing. Choosing a boring subject or someone without any meaningful achievements will make your essay boring and unreadable.

Your biography essay should focus on the key life events in the subject?s life story. A good biography essay focuses on the key life events of a person. If you are a good researcher, you will find plenty of information about your subject. If you do so, you should narrow down the information or the details to the key life events. Your professor does not need to know about every little detail related to your subject.

Lastly, your biography essay needs a linear narrative arc. In other words, you should present the life story of the subject logically and linearly; start the story from birth to death.

Biography Essay Outline / Structure

Biography essays are usually five paragraphs long. They can have more paragraphs if you are writing an entire book or a detailed extended essay or research paper. In this section, we will present to you the biography essay outline/structure. The information you get in this section should help you quickly create a good essay outline on any biography essay subject.

Biography essay outline/Template

I. introduction paragraph.

  • Hook statement (a quote by or about the subject or a fact about the subject)
  • Subject?s background information (talk about the subject?s biggest achievement in brief)
  • Thesis statement (this will be the main argument of your essay)

II. Body paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence (summarize the subject?s early life from birth to college)
  • Provide supporting information (present details about the subject?s early life)
  • Closing sentence (wrap up this paragraph nicely in a sentence)

III. Body paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence (summarize the subject?s main achievement(s))
  • Provide supporting information (present details about the subject?s key achievements)

IV. Body paragraph 3

  • Topic sentence (summarize the subject?s biggest impact or contribution to society)
  • Provide supporting information (present details about the contributions)

V. Conclusion

  • Restate your thesis statement
  • Summarize your main points
  • Closing sentence (wrap up your essay by stating your subject?s biggest achievements)

Using this essay outline template, you can create an outline for your biography essay. And when you do everything instructed in the template above, your outline will be detailed and straightforward. You will find it very easy to write your biography essay.

Tips When Writing a Biography Essay

  • Find the time. Before you start writing your biography essay, you should identify a day when you will have enough time to do everything. Doing just a portion of your essay every day will result in an essay that does not have a good flow. It could also lead to you taking too much time to write the essay. So, you should identify a day and a time when you will be free to do everything from start to finish; the goal should be to complete your essay in one go.
  • Conduct thorough research. Even if you are writing a biography essay on someone you know a lot about, you should conduct thorough research. Comprehensive research is important because it is precisely what you need to make your essay compelling and fact-filled. Conversely, not doing thorough research can result in a simplistic essay that simply regurgitates information available from online sources.
  • Always create an outline. Creating an outline may seem like a lot of work. However, it is indispensable in the pre-writing stage. It is necessary because making a good outline ensures your essay has good organization and flow. Without an outline, your essay can easily look disorganized.
  • Take time to write your thesis. The thesis is probably the most important statement or sentence in your essay. This is because it is the central point or argument of every essay. So, take your time to write your thesis and make sure you write a good one.
  • Follow a chronological order. When writing a biography essay, you must follow a chronological order. Start from the birth of the subject to their death (or their current situation if they are alive).
  • Refine your essay when done writing. The best writers usually rewrite their texts repeatedly to ensure the final delivery is simple and easy to understand. So, re-read and refine your work constantly to improve it and make it brilliant before submitting it.

Example Biography Essay

A Biography of Tristan Thompson ? a Fitness Trainer

Tristan Thompson has been one of the leading fitness trainers in the city of Los Angeles over the last decade. He has been training clients from all walks of life, including entrepreneurs, millionaires, ordinary workers, housewives, students, and so on. Tristan has, over the years, risen to become one of the most sought-after fitness trainers in California because of the fact that his training programs have consistently yielded positive results.

Tristan was born in 1989 in San Diego, California. It always seemed as if Tristan was destined for greater things from his birth. Both his parents are renowned personal trainers. His parents have operated the Silver Gym chain of fitness centers for over twenty years. Tristan joined them in the gym business when he turned fifteen. By age 17, Tristan was already participating in fitness competitions. Again, he seemed destined for greater things.

Just a few weeks after he turned 27 years old, Tristan was thrust to the helm of the Silver Gym business after the unfortunate passing of his parents. The business initially struggled for a couple of months but soon after started recording increasingly positive results. Through his hitherto unknown business acumen, Tristan grew his inheritance into one of the leading gym businesses in Southern California. The business is now worth $100,000,000, and it is projected to grow even more.

In addition to growing the gym business, Tristan will perhaps best be remembered for his achievements as a personal trainer. The man?s exercises and fitness programs have continuously yielded positive results with clients from different backgrounds. Tristan has won many accolades for his effective and innovative training programs that have helped hundreds achieve their ideal physique.

Tristan Thompson?s training programs have consistently yielded positive results. His gym has grown in leaps and bounds, and his programs have continued attracting dozens of clients every year. He is undoubtedly a legend in the California fitness industry, and whatever he does is only bound to increase his legendary status.

Final Thoughts

As a student or professional, you have written many types of essays. Maybe you have not encountered a biography essay yet, or you find the process of writing a perfect one, not within your reach. You are not alone; writing a biography or a professional biography is never that easy. It is often confusing, laborious, and sometimes challenging.

We strongly believe and hope you have honed your biography writing skills thanks to our comprehensive biography essay writing guide.

This guide has covered all the vital information you need to write a good biography essay. If you are confident enough, you should go ahead and try writing one now. Otherwise, if you are not confident, you should seek assistance from one of our professional writers.

Do this by ordering a biography essay from us now. If you hire one of our writers to write you a biography essay, you will get a 100 percent original biography essay without any mistakes or errors.

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What is biographical essay & How to write a biography essay? Tips, Outline & Sample

outline for biographical essay

You might be familiar with the word biography. A biography means a written account of another person’s life. As a high school, college or university student, a biography essay is one of the basic requirements to complete your academic program. Writing a biographical essay becomes hectic when you don’t have time or the required skills. But don’t worry. If you find biography writing to be a time-consuming task or lack the required skills, consider utilizing our biography writing services . Nerdpapers offers professional support in crafting well researched and engaging biographies that meet academic standards. Now let's teach you how to write a biography essay!

What is a biographical essay?

Before you start learning how to write a biography essay, you should first understand what a biographical essay is?

It is unique in that it paints the true picture of a person. A biographical essay is one that describes the life and work of a certain individual. Generally, biographical essays are of two types. The first one is used in the academic context, where students have to write an essay about a historical figure or person that is important to the writer. You have to follow the specific structure (introduction, body, and conclusion) in this type of essay. These types of essays are common in colleges as well as universities. On the other hand, the second type of biographical essay does not follow the academic structure and only presents certain moments and experiences of the subject’s life. 

Biography Essay Outline

Even if they differ from other essays in some ways, biographical essays still follow a specific pattern and structure. With the help of the biographical essay outline, you can better arrange your ideas and ensure that you don't forget any crucial details. This structured approach to will streamline your process and result in a more engaging essay. So, how to write a biography essay outline? Sometimes, professors specify a five paragraph standard structure. This means that your biography essay outline will consist of these components such as:

Introduction

  • Body Paragraph no 1
  • Body paragraph no 2
  • Body paragraph no 3

Now, you have a clear understanding of the biography writing format. It's time to learn about how to write a biography paper.

How to write a biography essay?

A biography essay is unique in that it paints the true picture of a person. It can also serve as a tool through which you can show different aspects of a well-known person's life about which other people don't know. Moreover, it is an interesting method to learn about famous people. Here are a few steps that will help you to follow the biography writing format. 

Most students are wondering, 'How to write an introduction for a biography essay'? That makes a good impression on the reader. It is the first paragraph of your biography paper. So, you should pay extra attention to what you are writing in this section.  Start with an attention grabbing hook that will set the tone of this entire section. Write basic information about the person, such as their name, DOB, birthplace, parents name, etc. Then, end the introduction with a strong thesis statement. 

Body Paragraph

Body paragraphs are the central parts of your essay. You will discuss the goals and milestones of the subject's life and achievements with the help of these paragraphs.  If you plan to follow five paragraph structures, then this section will have three body paragraphs. There is no standard way to categorize your biography essay, but since you’re writing about a person’s life - you can talk about their life stages such as childhood, adulthood, school, college, and university life. In the first body paragraph, talk about their childhood events, memories, and experiences.  Reserve the second paragraph entirely for academic career discussion. Add information about the subject's school, college, and university years. Which challenges they faced and how they overcame them. In the third paragraph, add their contributions, professional careers, which field they choose, and why. How did they perform in that field? What are other people's opinions about them?

Note: Remember that deep research is required before writing this essay. 

It is an essential part of an essay, and it's true for these types of essays as well. In conclusion, bring your thoughts together and restate your thesis statement. Do not repeat the claims that you have made throughout the essay. The best essay not only explores the person's work and life but also offers well known facts about them. 

Proofread and revise

Proofread your bio essay to check for grammatical, punctuation mistakes. Additionally, ask your friend or any member of family to read your prepared essay and provide you with their feedback. This will help you to make your essay more refined and polished. 

Learn about: “ What is an annotated bibliography ” and how to structure it to complement your biography essay.

How to write a biography of a famous person?

Sometimes, you may be asked to write a biography about a famous personality. It doesn't matter if this individual is still alive or not; you may easily obtain information about him. Suppose you’re thinking about what to include in a biography of a famous person. Don’t worry. It is relatively easy to write about someone who has a rich life story.  The key to effective biography writing is to solely depend on facts, not on fiction. You should not simply list facts about the person’s life. You also have to add your own opinions. But those opinions should be based on official statements from a person’s biography. 

Example of a biography essay

Let’s have a look at biographical essay examples that will help you to understand more.

Topic: Biography Essay on Albert Einstein

On March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany. He is among the most well-known and significant physicists of the 20th century. His revolutionary contributions to theoretical physics transformed our view of the universe and cemented his reputation as a brilliant scientist.   Early on, Einstein showed a strong sense of interest as well as a natural aptitude for physics and mathematics. He had difficulties in school since he was a nonconformist and had a speech impediment, but he had a remarkable ability to solve difficult mathematics problems. He chose to pursue a career in physics because of his love for learning about the underlying principles governing the cosmos.   In 1905, Einstein published the "Annus Mirabilis" papers, which formed the groundwork for his theory of special relativity. These studies introduced the well-known formula E=mc² which describes how mass and energy are equivalent. This hypothesis significantly changed our perception of the physical world by challenging traditional beliefs about time and space. Moreover, the general relativity theory, Einstein's most renowned contribution, was released in 1915. In contrast to what was previously believed, it proposed that mass-induced space time curvature is what causes gravity, not a force. British astronomers saw the bending of starlight as a star passed close to the sun during the 1919 solar eclipse, confirming this notion and providing experimental support for Einstein's theories.   Einstein made contributions during his life that went beyond physics. He was an outspoken supporter of pacifism, civil rights, as well as the elimination of nuclear weapons. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for his explanation of the photoelectric effect, a phenomena that contributed to the development of the quantum mechanics theory.   Beyond his scientific accomplishments, Einstein left a lasting legacy. His devotion to improving humanity as well as his creative mind has inspired future generations of scientists and philosophers. On April 18, 1955, Albert Einstein passed away, yet his concepts and impact are still being used to improve science and solve the universe's riddles.

Check out our detailed guide about the “ Difference between autobiography and biography ”

Tips on Writing a Biographical Essay

Thinking about how to write a biography essay to make it error free? Check out these simple tips written by our expert writers.

  • For listing events in the this essay, use chronological order. Reverse chronological order also works in a few scenarios, but readers easily understand the standard chronological order.
  • There is no need to add details of each event of the subject’s life. Before starting to write an essay, study the person’s biography in detail. Then, mention only those events that influenced their achievements.
  • It is your responsibility as the author of the essay to present a fair analysis of your subject's life and evaluate its impact on society. You can express yourself in other writing genres as well. Therefore, your readers don't want to see any generalizations or your own, particularly unfavorable, opinions.
  • End your essay with a strong conclusion. Then, summarize your primary points and leave the lasting impression on the reader.

FAQs on Biography Essay

Q1: how to start a biography essay.

Start your biography essay with the basic information about the subject's life, such as their name, profession, etc.

Q2: What is the purpose of a biography essay?

The basic purpose of writing a biographical essay is to share the life of another person with people. The author chooses to write a biography because it's an assignment given by the teacher or because the author finds the subject's life interesting.

Q3: What is the format of a biography essay?

The structure is given below:

Q4: What information should be included in the biography?

It is similar to other forms of essays. Biographies include pertinent information regarding the subject's life. In some cases, it also examines the personality and attributes of the subject.

Q5: What components are involved in biography?

The following are the basic elements of a biography:

  • Thorough research
  • Well defined structure
  • Engaging language
  • Captivating themes
  • Harmony of objectivity and humanity

Free Yourself from Stressful Biography Essay Writing Tasks

Bio essay writing is not a simple task, especially if you’re not familiar with its format before. If you are short of time and are stuck with other assignments you can buy your essay online . Don’t let the biography essay writing task stress you out!

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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.

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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).  

outline for biographical essay

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.  

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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. 

outline for biographical essay

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 a Biographical Essay

How write a biography

What Does Biography Mean?

What is a biography essay, what should a biographical essay include.

  • Introduction – This should include a brief overview of the person’s life, what they are known for, and why they are required in a biographical essay. It should have; Background Information and Thesis statement.
  •  Body – This is the meat of the essay, where you provide details about the person’s life, including their accomplishments, struggles, and successes. It includes Early Life, Education, Career, and Achievements.
  • Conclusion – This is where you wrap up the essay and summarize the person and their legacy. This part determines if your readers get hooked, and it includes a Summary of Important Points, Reflection on Life and Work, and Final Thoughts.
  • Sources – All biographical essays should include references used to research the person. This helps to ensure accuracy and adds credibility to the article.

How Do You Write a Biological Essay?  

  • Choose a subject. Pick a subject you find exciting and have access to information about. The subject could be a person, a place, or an event.
  • Research your subject. Gather information about your topic from multiple sources such as books, academic journals, websites, newspapers, and interviews.
  • Create an outline. Outline the main points of your essay and organize your research into sections.
  • Write a thesis statement. Make sure it is specific and states the main point of your essay.
  • Write the body of the essay. Start with an introduction that provides context and background information, followed by the body, which should include evidence and examples that support your thesis statement.
  • Write a conclusion. Summarize your points and reiterate your thesis statement.
  • Proofread and edit. Check your essay for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
” John is a remarkable example of how hard work and dedication can help an individual to achieve their goals, no matter the obstacles they may face.”

How to Write an Autobiography

Autobiography on yourself

  • Start by introducing yourself. Include your name, age, and a brief overview of who you are and what you do.
  • Give a brief overview of your family background. Explain where you grew up, who your parents and siblings are, and any other significant family members.
  • Describe any positive and negative critical events during your childhood.
  • Discuss any significant accomplishments or events during your teenage years.
  • Talk about any meaningful relationships you’ve had throughout your life.
  • Explain any educational and professional experiences that have significantly impacted your life.
  • If you have any exciting hobbies or stories, feel free to include them.
  • Share any lessons or insights you have learned throughout your life.
  • Reflect on the impact your experiences have had on the person you are today.
  • Finally,end the autobiography with a conclusion that sums up your life and its effect on the world.

What Are Biographical Writing Examples?

  • Autobiography: An account of a person’s life written by that person.
  • Biography: A detailed account of a person’s life written by someone else. i.e., Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • Memoir: A written account of a period in a person’s life, typically focusing on memories and experiences. “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson”.
  • Narrative nonfiction: A factual story told in an engaging, literary style. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • Historical novel: A novel that tells a story set in the past and often includes actual historical figures. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.”

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How to Write a Biography

Learn how to write a biography with our comprehensive guide.

Farzana Zannat Mou

Last updated on Dec 8th, 2023

How to Write a Biography

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Table of Contents

How to write a biography can be a fun challenge as you share someone’s life story with readers. You may need to write a biography for a class or decide to write a biography as a personal project. Once you’ve identified the subject of your biography, do your research to learn as much as you can about them. Then, immerse yourself in writing the biography and revising it until it’s best. What I am going to share with you in today’s post is how to write a biography. If you want to know the rules of how to write a biography correctly then this post of ours is essential for you. 

Introduction

While it’s true that most biographies involve people in the public eye, sometimes the subject is less well-known. But most of the time, famous or not, the person we’re talking about has an incredible life. Although your students may have a basic understanding of How to write a biography, you should take some time before putting pen to paper to come up with a very clear definition of biography.

Before knowing how to write a biography, let’s first understand what a biography is. A biography is an account of a person’s life written by someone else. Although there is a genre called fictional biography, by definition biographies are mostly non-fiction. In general, biographies trace the subject’s life from early childhood to the present day or until death if the subject is deceased. 

Biography writing is not limited to describing the bare facts of a person’s life. Instead of just listing basic details about their upbringing, interests, education, work, relationships, and deaths, a well-written biography should also paint a picture of a person’s personality as well as that person’s life experiences.

Tips and Tricks For How To Write a Biography

1. ask the subject’s permission to write a biography.

Here are the first tips on how to write a biography. Before starting your research, make sure you get your subject’s consent to write their biography. Ask them if they’re ready to be the subject. Getting their permission will make writing a biography much easier and ensure that they are open to information about their lives.

If the theme does not allow you to write a bio, you can choose another theme. If you decide to publish a profile without the subject’s permission, you may be subject to legal action from the subject. 

If the topic no longer exists, you don’t need to ask permission to write about them. 

2. Research primary sources on the topic

Primary sources may include books, letters, photographs, diaries, newspaper clippings, magazines, Internet articles, magazines, videos, interviews, existing biographies, or autobiographies on the subject. Find these resources in your local library or online. Read as much as you can about the topic and highlight any important information you come across in your sources. 

You can create research questions to help you focus your research on this topic, such as: 

What do I find interesting about this topic? Why is this topic important to readers? 

3. Conduct interviews with subjects and their relatives

Interviewing people will turn your research into reality: the people you interview will be able to tell you stories you can’t find in history books. Interview the subject as well as people close to them, such as spouses, friends, business associates, family members, co-workers, and friends. Interview in person, over the phone, or via email.

For in-person interviews, record them with a voice recorder or voice recorder on your computer or phone. You may need to interview the subject and others multiple times to get the documents you need.

4. Visit places important to the topic

Whenever you want to know how to write a biography, to understand the history of the subject, spend time in places and areas that are significant to the subject. This may be the subject’s childhood home or neighborhood. You can also visit the subject’s workplace and regular meeting places. 

You may also want to visit areas where the subject made important decisions or breakthroughs in their life. Being physically present in the area can give you an idea of what your subjects may have felt and help you write about their experiences more effectively.

5. Research the time and place of the subject’s life

Contextualize your subject’s life by observing what’s going on around them. Consider the period in which they grew up as well as the history of the places they lived. Study the economics, politics, and culture of their time. See current events happening where they live or work.

When you studying how to write a biography, ask yourself about time and place: 

What were the social norms of this period? 

What happened economically and politically? 

How has the political and social environment influenced this topic?

6. Make a timeline of a person’s life

To help you organize your research, create a timeline of a person’s entire life, from birth. Draw a long line on a piece of paper and sketch out as many details about a person’s life as possible. Highlight important events or moments on the timeline. Include important dates, locations, and names. 

If you think about how to write a biography You can also include historical events or moments that affect the topic in the timeline. For example, a conflict or civil war may occur during a person’s lifetime and affect their life.

7. Focus on important events and milestones

Major events can include marriage, birth, or death during a person’s lifetime. They may also achieve milestones like their first successful business venture or their first civil rights march. Highlights key moments in a person’s life so readers clearly understand what’s important to that person and how they influence the world around them.

For example, you might focus on one person’s achievements in the civil rights movement. You could write an entire section about their contributions and participation in major civil rights marches in their hometowns.

8. Cite all sources used in  biography

Most biographies will include information from sources such as books, journal articles, magazines, and interviews. Remember to cite any sources that you directly quote or paraphrase. You can use citations, footnotes, or endnotes. If the biography is for a course, use MLA, APA, or Chicago Style citations according to your instructor’s preference.

9. Reread the biography

Check the biography for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Circle all punctuation marks in the text to confirm they are correct. Read the text backward to check for spelling and grammar errors. 

Having a biography full of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors can frustrate readers and lead to poor grades if you submit your work to the class.

10. Show your biography to others to get their feedback

It is a momentous step of how to write a biography. Once you have completed your draft biography, show it to your colleagues, friends, teachers, and mentors to get their feedback. Ask them if they have a good understanding of someone’s life and if the biography is easy to read. Be open to feedback so you can improve the biography and make it error-free. Revise profile based on feedback from others. Don’t be afraid to trim or edit your biography to suit your readers’ needs.

11. Use flashbacks

Flashbacks happen when you move from the present to the past. You can start with the present moment, and then bring in a scene from the person’s past. Or you could have one chapter focusing on the present and one focusing on the past, alternating as you go.

The flashback scene must be as detailed and realistic as the present-day scene. Use your research notes and interviews with subjects to better understand their past to reminisce. 

For example, you can move from a person’s death in the present to reminiscing about their favorite childhood memory.

12. Outline Your Story Chronologically 

This is another important step in how to write a biography is to write an outline that describes your story in chronological order. An outline is a tool that helps you visualize the structure and key elements of your story. This can help you organize your story into chapters and sections. 

You can write your plan in a digital document or draw it with pen and paper. Remember to store your outline in an easily accessible place so you can refer to it throughout the writing process.

What citation style should I use for my biography?

Use MLA, APA, or Chicago Style citations based on your instructor’s preference when citing sources in your biography.

Should I include personal opinions in a biography?

No, a biography should be objective and based on facts. Avoid injecting personal opinions or bias into the narrative.

What’s the difference between a biography and an autobiography?

A biography is written by someone else about a person’s life, while an autobiography is written by the subject themselves about their own life.

Can I write a biography about a living person?

Yes, you can write a biography about a living person with their consent. Ensure you respect their privacy and follow ethical guidelines when writing about them.

Conclusion 

Other than creating a sense of closure, there are no set rules about how a biography ends. An author may want to summarize their main points about the subject of their biography. If the person is still alive, the author can inform the reader about their condition or circumstances. If the person has died, inheritance can be discussed. Authors can also remind readers how they can learn from the biographical subject. Sharing a closing quote or about a person can leave the audience with a point to consider or discuss in more detail.

For further insights into writing and to avoid common mistakes, check out our article on Most Common Mistakes in Writing . Additionally, explore the Best Writing Tools for Writers to enhance your writing skills and discover the tools that can assist you. If you’re looking to improve your typing speed and accuracy, our article on How to Type Faster with Accuracy offers valuable tips.

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  • Current Version
  • Dec 8th, 2023
  • Oct 22nd, 2023

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How To Write A Biography Essay

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How to Write a Biography Essay (Writing Guide)

How to start a biography essay.

  • How to write body for a biography essay
  • How to conclude a biography essay
  • Outline example

A biography is a short but elaborate description of a selected person’s life. It details and follows one’s journey from birth to the present time. An effective biography will be brief but it will also capture the most important aspects and experiences of one’s entire life. It is necessary for the biography writer to acknowledge whose life the biography is about, in the introductory part of the paper. The thesis statement will usually be in the introduction, and will summarize the individual’s ‘big picture’ and most important aspects of his or her life.

A biography is often not always about oneself. It can be about someone else. In the latter case, one needs to gather enough data about the person whose biography is to be written. Such data can come from newspapers, internet articles, existing biographies, autobiographies, and government documents other sources. Interviewing the person’s family members, friends, and can also be critical sources of information. Once one has already established sources, he can now settle down and summarize the information in an interesting manner, in an essay form.

How to write body paragraphs for a biography essay

The body paragraphs of the essay must capture four key elements relating to the individual. First, the chronological experiences of events in his or her life are arranged in a timeline. Each significant event in the person’s life will be highlighted in an interesting manner. Not all events will be highlighted but the key aspects must be pointed out including the date and place of birth, the names of parents, siblings and close friends. Additionally, the Alma Mata will also be noted, among many other critical elements touching on early life.

One of the other important parts that must be included in a biography is the subject’s work or career progress. If the subject’s life is closely connected to their career, the writer can break up the biography into sections such that the various job positions are clearly identified. An individual who has worked in many senior positions will imply a long and detailed description of such positions and the periods for which each of such positions were occupied.

It is of utmost importance, when writing a biography, to indicate one or two features that make the person to stand out, or interesting. A comedian for instance, will be noted for his or her comic skills. A politician, a law enforcer, a teacher, a polite individual, gambler, dictator, an activist, artist, irresponsible person, entrepreneur, a daredevil among others will be identified as such. An individual can be identified as being special by their profession, character, or contribution to society in various ways.

The accomplishments must also be outlined. The biographical events touching on major accomplishments such as academic, sports, career accomplishments, among others have to be arranged in such a way that they follow and mirror each other. For instance, the writer can recognize the subject’s accomplishments by age 15, then by 30, by age 40 and so on. This has to be arranged systematically and the accomplishments must be linked to how the person’s current life is. If the person is already dead, the roles that his or her accomplishments played in the person’s later life have to be identified.

It is often a good practice when writing a biography to include flashbacks in the subject’s life. If one has noted, in the timeline that the subject excelled at college games or became a prominent professor, it is important to link this to the person’s earlier sporting or academic performance at high school or elementary level. For example, if he became a professional footballer, one must connect this with the fact that the subject previously took active part in games at high school level, as a games captain or such other notable achievements.

Furthermore, any event that changed the person’s life in one way or the other must be noted. In some instances, the subject overcame obstacles such as coming from a poor family but ending up being wealthy, such as Oprah Winfrey, or being born with major disability such as Nick Vujicic but overcoming such disability to become an influential motivational speaker and entrepreneur. Other individuals took big risks or gambles which transformed their lives. This, too, has to be noted in the biography.

How to conclude a biography essay

In conclusion, a good biography essay will brief detail the events and experiences in a person’s life. Such details need to be detailed as a narration and in prose form. Any quotes used in the biography, such as interviews, must be cited appropriately. From the information contained in the body of the biography, it should be possible to draw conclusion on whether the world would be a better or worse place if the person had not been alive. A candid biography of Adolf Hitler, for instance, will likely conclude that the world would have been a better place without him. On the other hand, a biography on Nelson Mandela, Neil Armstrong, The Wright Brothers, among other notables would point to their great role and positive contribution to society.

Outline example for a biography essay about yourself

Introduction  – identification of the person whose biography is to be written.

  • Chronology of key events
  • Accomplishments
  • Events that changed the person’s life
  • Why the person is special or interesting

Conclusion – how the world benefited from the person.

outline for biographical essay

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How to write a biographical essay: tips, outlines & examples.

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Biographical Essay, essay, tips

Introduction:

outline for biographical essay

Writing a biographical essay can be an enlightening and rewarding experience. It gives you the opportunity to learn about an individual’s life, from their personal experiences to their achievements and struggles. Whether you are writing about a celebrity, a historical figure, or even someone close to you, it is essential to approach the task with thorough research, well-structured organization, and a captivating narrative. In this guide, we will provide you with tips, outlines, and examples that will help you write a compelling biographical essay. So, let’s get started!

Understanding Biographical Essays

Biographical essays serve as intimate narratives that plunge into the depths of an individual’s life and accomplishments. They offer a comprehensive overview of the subject’s background, experiences, and the profound impact they’ve had on society or their respective fields.

Why Biographical Essays Matter

These essays are invaluable for preserving history and venerating human achievement. They serve as invaluable records, offering profound insights into the lives of notable figures and enriching our understanding of the past.

The Purpose Behind Biographical Essays

The primary aim of crafting a biographical essay is to inform, educate, and inspire readers by unraveling the life story of an exceptional individual. It provides writers with a platform to delve into the complexities of human character, motivations, and aspirations.

Selecting Your Subject

Choosing Someone Significant

When selecting a subject for your biographical essay, opt for individuals who have left an indelible impact in their field or possess a compelling life story that resonates deeply.

Having Enough Research Material

Ensure there is an abundance of research material available on your chosen subject, enabling you to delve deep into their life and contributions.

Personal Connection and Interest

Choose a subject that ignites a personal connection within you. Genuine interest in the subject will infuse your writing with authenticity and depth.

Researching Your Subject

Utilizing Various Sources

Embark on thorough research utilizing a diverse array of primary and secondary sources, including biographies, autobiographies, and interviews with experts or individuals close to the subject.

Considering Different Perspectives

Explore diverse viewpoints and interpretations of your subject’s life to present a multifaceted analysis.

Fact-Checking

Ensure the accuracy of the information you gather, anchoring your essay in factual authenticity.

Crafting the Outline

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Organizing Key Events

Devise a structured outline delineating the significant events and milestones in your subject’s life, providing readers with a clear roadmap of your essay.

Ensuring Coherence

Arrange your essay in a logical manner to sustain reader engagement and interest.

Creating a Narrative Arc

Craft a compelling narrative that encapsulates the essence of your subject’s life journey, from their humble beginnings to their enduring legacy.

Writing the Introduction

Engaging the Reader

Commence your essay with a captivating introduction that captivates the reader’s attention and sets the stage for the narrative that unfolds.

Introducing the Subject

Offer readers a succinct overview of your subject’s identity and significance.

Establishing the Essay’s Purpose

Articulate the purpose of your essay and delineate the aspects of your subject’s life that you intend to explore.

Body Paragraphs: Chronological Approach

Early Life and Background

Delve into your subject’s formative years and early experiences that shaped their identity and trajectory.

Key Achievements

Highlight the pivotal accomplishments and contributions that punctuated your subject’s life journey.

Challenges Faced

Examine the obstacles and adversities your subject encountered, illuminating their resilience and fortitude.

Impact on Society

Explore the enduring impact your subject had on society or their respective fields, tracing the ripples of their influence.

Body Paragraphs: Thematic Approach

Identifying Themes

Identify recurring themes or motifs in your subject’s life and expound upon their significance.

Analyzing Character Traits

Probe into your subject’s character traits and their profound influence on their decisions and actions.

Highlighting Significant Events

Shed light on pivotal moments in your subject’s life that offer profound insights into their psyche and motivations.

Incorporating Supporting Evidence

Using Quotes and Anecdotes

Infuse your narrative with pertinent quotes and anecdotes, offering readers intimate glimpses into your subject’s innermost thoughts and emotions.

Providing Context

Furnish historical, societal, and cultural context to enable readers to contextualize your subject’s life within the broader tapestry of human history.

Interpreting Evidence

Leverage the evidence at your disposal to draw astute connections and insights that enrich your portrayal of your subject’s life and legacy.

Maintaining Objectivity

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Balancing Admiration and Critique

Strike a delicate balance between celebrating your subject’s achievements and critically evaluating their actions and impact.

Addressing Controversies

Confront controversies or criticisms surrounding your subject with impartiality and objectivity, allowing readers to form their own informed opinions.

Presenting a Well-Rounded Portrayal

Endeavor to present a nuanced and multifaceted portrayal of your subject, acknowledging their complexities and contradictions.

Writing the Conclusion

Summarizing Key Points

Synthesize the salient points and contributions elucidated throughout your essay, underscoring their significance and lasting impact.

Reflecting on Legacy

Contemplate your subject’s enduring legacy and the indelible imprint they’ve left on subsequent generations.

Leaving an Impression

Conclude your essay with a poignant reflection or incisive question that resonates with readers, compelling further contemplation.

Types of Biography Essays

1. Chronological Biography Essays

Chronological biography essays follow a linear narrative structure, tracing the life of the subject from birth to death or to the present day. These essays focus on presenting events, achievements, and significant milestones in the order they occurred. The narrative typically begins with the subject’s early life and background, progresses through key events and accomplishments, and concludes with their lasting legacy. This type of biography essay provides readers with a comprehensive overview of the subject’s life journey, allowing them to observe the progression of the subject’s experiences and contributions over time.

2. Thematic Biography Essays

Thematic biography essays organize the narrative around specific themes or topics relevant to the subject’s life and achievements. Instead of following a strict chronological order, these essays explore various themes, such as personal growth, overcoming adversity, or professional accomplishments, that define the subject’s identity and impact. By examining recurring motifs or significant aspects of the subject’s life, thematic biography essays offer a deeper understanding of their character, motivations, and enduring legacy. This type of biography essay allows for a more nuanced analysis of the subject’s life, focusing on the interconnectedness of different events and experiences rather than their chronological sequence.

Editing and Proofreading

Ensuring Clarity

Meticulously review your essay to ensure clarity, coherence, and a seamless flow of ideas that enhance reader comprehension.

Checking Grammar and Spelling

Polish your prose by meticulously proofreading for grammatical errors and typographical mistakes.

Seeking Feedback

Solicit feedback from peers or mentors to refine your essay and elevate it to its fullest potential.

Example of Biographical Essays

Maya Johnson: A Tale of Grit and Grace

In the heart of our bustling city, amidst the hustle and bustle, there’s a story that sings of strength, courage, and the power of never giving up. It’s the story of Maya Johnson, a woman whose journey through life is as remarkable as it is inspiring.

Born and raised in a cozy neighborhood, Maya’s childhood was anything but easy. Growing up with little, she faced challenges that could have easily dimmed her spirit. But Maya was different. She had a spark in her eyes and a fire in her heart that refused to be extinguished by hardship.

From the very beginning, Maya was drawn to learning like a magnet to steel. Despite the lack of fancy resources or shiny opportunities, Maya devoured books like they were candy, soaking up knowledge like a sponge. She was determined to make something of herself, no matter what.

As Maya danced through her teenage years, life threw plenty of curveballs her way. But Maya was no stranger to adversity. With a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, she tackled each challenge head-on, never once losing sight of her dreams.

College brought its own set of hurdles, but Maya was undaunted. Balancing multiple jobs to pay her way through school, Maya showed the world what true grit looked like. She refused to let anything stand in the way of her education, determined to carve out a better future for herself.

But Maya’s story isn’t just about hitting the books and chasing grades. It’s about finding your voice and standing up for what you believe in. Along the way, Maya discovered a passion for making a difference, using her voice to speak out against injustice and inequality.

Through her advocacy work, Maya became a beacon of hope for those who felt lost in the shadows. Her tireless efforts to shine a light on the issues that mattered most earned her respect and admiration from all who knew her.

Today, Maya’s journey continues to inspire us all. Her unwavering determination and boundless optimism serve as a reminder that, no matter where you come from or what challenges you face, there’s always a way forward.

In Maya’s story, we find echoes of our own struggles and triumphs. Her journey is a testament to the power of resilience, the beauty of perseverance, and the magic of never giving up on your dreams.

As Maya continues to write the next chapter of her story, one thing is clear: her light will continue to shine brightly, guiding us all towards a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow.

Tips for Effective Writing

Being authentic.

In order to produce a compelling biography, it is essential to unearth the recurring themes and motifs that permeate the subject’s life. After delving into the subject’s character traits and the pivotal moments that shaped their life, it is crucial to incorporate supporting evidence such as quotes, anecdotes, and historical context.

In writing the biography, objectivity should be maintained by evaluating both positive and negative aspects of the subject’s life, addressing controversies openly, and acknowledging the subject’s complexities. In the conclusion, their lasting legacy should be contemplated and addressed, leaving readers with a poignant reflection or thought-provoking question.

It is critical to thoroughly edit and proofread the biography for clarity, grammatical correctness, and coherence. Seeking feedback from peers and mentors can further enhance the final product.

By studying example biographies and learning from the successes of others, aspiring biographers can hone their skills and produce authentic, engaging narratives about the lives of extraordinary individuals.

Finding Your Voice

Develop your unique narrative voice by experimenting with language, tone, and style, while maintaining the essence of the subject’s story. Incorporate your own personality and personal connection with the subject when crafting the narrative, fostering an intimate and relatable bond with the reader.

Practice Makes Perfect

To master the art of writing biographies, it is essential to hone your skills through consistent practice. Explore different genres, such as memoirs, autobiographies, and historical non-fiction, to broaden your understanding of various writing techniques. Additionally, consider participating in writing workshops or engaging with writing communities to receive feedback and support in developing your craft. By doing so, you will gain confidence in your ability to create comprehensive and compelling biographies.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

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Staying Focused

As a biographer, it is essential to maintain a clear focus on the subject’s life throughout your writing. Narrative gaps or unnecessary tangents can disrupt the flow of the story and make it difficult for readers to connect with your subject. To prevent this, establish a clear outline for your biography, dividing their life into distinct chapters or sections. This will help you stay organized and maintain a consistent narrative style throughout the book.

Remaining Objective

While it’s crucial to honor your subject’s unique characteristics and complexities, it’s equally important to remain objective in your writing. Biographies should showcase both the triumphs and the flaws of the individual, presenting a well-rounded and nuanced representation of their life. To ensure objectivity, consider seeking feedback from peers or mentors, and be open to incorporating their constructive criticism into your revisions.

Citing Sources

In addition to avoiding common pitfalls, aspiring biographers should adhere to strict standards of citation when compiling their research. By accurately referencing the sources that they use to support their narrative, writers can establish credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of their readers. To compile a comprehensive list of sources , it is essential to keep meticulous records of every book, article, interview, or document consulted throughout the research process. This not only ensures accuracy but also allows other researchers and biographers to follow a similar path of inquiry and build upon the foundation you’ve established.

Leveraging AI Writing Tools like Blainy for Essay Excellence

In the modern era, harnessing the power of AI writing tools can elevate your essay-writing experience. Platforms like Blainy offer a range of features designed to streamline the process and enhance the quality of your work.

The Power of Auto-Suggestion

AI writing tools often come equipped with auto-suggestion features. This means as you type, the tool can provide real-time suggestions for words, phrases, or even entire sentences. It’s like having a writing companion offering instant input, making your essay more fluid and engaging.

outline for biographical essay

Effortless Citations with AI

One of the challenges in essay writing is handling citations. AI writing tools simplify this task by automatically generating citations based on the specified citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago). This ensures your essay maintains academic integrity without the hassle of manually formatting references.

outline for biographical essay

Image Integration for Visual Appeal

Enhance the visual appeal of your essay by seamlessly integrating relevant images. AI tools like Blainy allow you to insert images directly into your document, providing a visual dimension to support your arguments or illustrate key points.

outline for biographical essay

Mastering the Art of Paraphrasing

AI tools excel in paraphrasing, offering an efficient way to rephrase sentences while maintaining the original meaning. This capability adds a layer of sophistication to your writing, reducing redundancy and increasing the overall quality of your essay.

Real-Time Grammar and Style Corrections

Say goodbye to grammatical errors and inconsistent writing styles. AI writing tools continuously analyze your text, providing real-time suggestions for improving grammar, punctuation, and overall writing style. This ensures a polished and professional final product.

outline for biographical essay

By incorporating AI writing tools like  Blainy  into your essay-writing process, you not only simplify the task but also elevate the quality of your work. Embrace the future of writing assistance and witness the transformation in your essay-writing experience.

In conclusion, writing a biographical essay requires a deep understanding of the subject, an eye for detail, and the ability to present a well-rounded portrayal that neither excessively adulates nor harshly critiques the individual. Throughout the process, it is essential to maintain objectivity, addressing controversies and complexities with impartiality. To ensure a compelling conclusion, summarize key points, reflect on the subject’s legacy, and leave a lasting impression on readers. By following these guidelines and continuously honing your writing skills, you can craft a powerful and engaging biographical essay that resonates with audiences and pays tribute to the extraordinary lives of the individuals who have made a significant impact on our world.

How do I choose a subject for my biographical essay?

Look for individuals with significant impact or compelling life stories that resonate with you personally. Ensure there’s enough research material available to support your writing.

What sources should I use for researching my subject?

Utilize a mix of primary and secondary sources, including biographies, autobiographies, and interviews. Seek out diverse perspectives to provide a well-rounded analysis.

How can I maintain objectivity in my biographical essay?

Present multiple viewpoints and avoid bias by critically evaluating your subject’s actions and impact. Strive for fairness and balance in your portrayal.

Why are biographical essays important?

Biographical essays preserve history and celebrate human achievement, offering insights into the lives of noteworthy individuals and fostering understanding and reflection.

How can I improve my biographical writing skills?

Practice regularly, experiment with different styles, and seek feedback from others. Study well-written biographical essays for inspiration and aim for authenticity, clarity, and originality in your writing. You can use   Blainy.com  to quickly compose an Biography essay, or any other topic, of your choosing. It’s a fantastic choice that promises convenience and relief. Create an essay on any topic in a matter of minutes with the help of our AI-powered program. Membership is immediately available upon your free registration here.  Sign up on Blainy.com  and get a free trial.

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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. Primarily, though, famous or not, the person who is written about has led an incredible life.

In this article, we will explain biography writing in detail for teachers and students so they can create their own.

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 one.

Visual Writing Prompts

What Is a Biography?

how to write a biography | how to start an autobiography | How to Write a Biography | literacyideas.com

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 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 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.

Features of a Biography

Before students begin writing a biography, they’ll need to have a firm grasp of the main features of Biography. An excellent way to determine how well they understand these essential elements is to ask them to compile a checklist like the one blow

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.”

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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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How to Draft Interesting Biography Essays

Table of Contents

A biography essay is an essay that narrates a person’s life through the writer’s own words. They give writers a chance to explore different person’s experiences and discover what they were like. They can be challenging to write if you aren’t familiar with the biography essay structure .

This article will help explain biography essays and how they differ from biographies. Let’s begin!

person using macbook pro on brown wooden table

Biography essays are a way for us to understand another person’s beliefs, ideologies, and other important details. Most importantly, biography essays focus on a person’s contributions to the world.

In this regard, they feel similar to history essays. They both talk about events and people of the past and try to explain how they helped shape the world we know today.

Hallmarks of a Good Biography Essay

Biography essays shouldn’t be confused with biographies. While they both cover a person’s life, essays have a thesis statement that captures the most important aspect of a subject’s life. This can be:

  • A subject’s more crucial experience
  • An experience that justifies a subject’s deeds
  • How the subject played a significant role

Biography essays aren’t just about recreating a person’s experiences. They are an engaging way to reveal a person’s story to your readers. They help reveal a subject’s personality and character so that readers can fully capture their essence. 

It also follows that your biography essay must include your subject’s works. 

After all, aren’t we best defined by the work we do and the things we stand for?

Biography essays can be lengthy, especially when your subject is someone who has had many great contributions to society and many life experiences. The biggest challenge in a biography is not in its complexity, as the information is readily available. Rather, the challenge lies in the scope and scale of the work.

It’s easy to get lost in the plethora of experiences, stories, and achievements. This is the reason why you need to introduce a structure to your essay .

The Importance of Structure

The primary purpose of an essay structure is to provide readers with an overview of all important topics . It will help writers organize their thoughts and ensure a smooth transition from one topic to another.

It also ensures that your topics all relate to one another, thus ensuring coherence throughout the entire essay.

A biography essay doesn’t need to be complex. As with all forms of essay writing, you should always start by writing an outline. The following section will help guide you as you write your essay.

Biography Essay Structure

The five-paragraph essay format is the simplest way to structure your biography essay. However, you can add more body paragraphs as you see fit to help you meet word count requirements. Your standard biography essay structure is as follows:

Introduction Paragraph

  • Start with a hook
  • Introduce the subject of your biography essay
  • Present your thesis statement

Body Paragraphs

Dedicate each body paragraph to one achievement or experience of your subject. Try to explain each item thoroughly and use them to support your thesis statement.

  • 1st Body Paragraph
  • 2nd Body Paragraph 
  • 3rd Body Paragraph

Conclusion Paragraph

  • Summarize all key experiences and contributions
  • Reiterate how they all support your thesis statement
  • End your essay with a powerful closing statement

Essays aren’t as challenging as most people initially think. A bit of structure and good organization can simplify the writing process . Always keep your thesis statement in mind as you write, and use the facts in your research to support it. 

Most essays share a similar outline. The subtle differences lie in their purpose and style. 

How to Draft Interesting Biography Essays

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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What Is a Biographical Essay and How to Write It: Features, Structure, and Examples

  • by Anastasiya Yakubovska
  • 01.04.2023 05.08.2023
  • How to write ...

If you are interested in this genre and you would like to write a biographical essay, then first, I suggest you take a closer look at it and find out:

What Methods Can the Writer Use in Writing a Biographical Essay?

The process of writing a biographical essay is quite time-consuming. To write an essay, it is not enough just to choose a topic, to collect and analyze information. The author’s task is to rethink the information received and transform it into a special essay form.

There are two methods used in writing essays:

  • Theoretical.

The theoretical method is used when the main subject of the essay is a problematic situation .

But if a journalist needs to write an essay about an interesting person, then an artistic method is used that allows the writer to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of a person, delve into his or her psychology and understand the character of the hero.

The degree of the artistry of the biographical essay may vary depending on its purpose: one text may be more specific and documentary, while the other may be as creative as possible. Thus, in each essay, there should be both artistic creativity and facts in various proportions (depending on the purpose and subject matter).

Since this article is primarily about a short biographical essay, its average length is about 500 words (standard A4 page).

How to Write a Biographical Essay

As we have already found out, the subject of a portrait or biographical essay is a person – not a fictional hero, but a person from real life. And the author’s task is to create a “portrait” of this person based on the available facts from the biography.

Reading the essay, the audience should understand:

  • Who is the main character?
  • What are his/her values?
  • What influenced his or her formation as a personality?
  • What are the hero’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • The reader needs to understand the hero’s inner world and character.

First, the biographical essay should indicate basic information about the hero: first name, last name, date and place of birth, origin, activities, and main achievements. But it shouldn’t look like listing personal data.

In the essay, in the first place is the hero’s character and inner world. Therefore, the writer needs, through facts taken from the hero’s biography, to reveal, for example, the reasons for his actions, to try to understand how the hero thought when he was in various life situations, how he interacted with other people, etc.

As you can see, essay writing is more of a creative process.

The essay is a mirror of our society and its values.

First, you will need to study all the information about the person you are interested in, and only then choose the most striking and remarkable facts, and events from the hero’s life. In your biographical essay, write how these events affected the character.

After all the information has been collected, you should decide how to structure your essay:

  • Will you talk about the hero of the essay in chronological order , that is, describe phenomena, and events from human life in their time sequence?
  • Or will you first tell about the most interesting facts from his or her biography, and only then describe the general picture of the hero’s life?
  • Or build your narrative on the principle of logical sequence , which is typical for essay analysis and essay research.

Modern biographical essays use a mixed narrative structure.

How to write and structure a biographical essay

Of course, the most valuable source of information for a biographical essay will be its primary source – an interview with the hero of the story. If this is not possible, then use only reliable, confirmed, and accurate information. It can be:

  • personal diaries and letters;
  • autobiography;
  • photo and film documents related to the life of the hero and his environment;
  • personal property;
  • and, of course, information from the Internet (but only trusted, official sources).

The best biographies are obtained when the journalist is personally acquainted with the person whose life he describes when he can observe the behavior of this person, and be a witness to any of his actions. This enriches the material with the author’s impressions, allowing the writer to point out some subtle details in the appearance or character of the hero that other people might not have noticed. Observation is a very effective way of obtaining information, but, unfortunately, it can not always be used. Therefore, the main source of information for modern biographical essays is most often an interview with the hero of a future publication.

The author of the essay, at his discretion, selects facts from the life of the hero, and based on this information creates a holistic image of the hero and then gives the reader the right to draw conclusions, to form a personal opinion about the person.

HENRY MORE: A BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

By ROBERT CROCKER 

Henry More was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in October 1614, the seventh son of Alexander More, a scion of a large and honourable northern landed family. Brought up in a large Calvinist gentry household, More was sent as a child to the local grammar school in Grantham. After revealing something of his intellectual abilities there, at fourteen his education was taken in hand by a learned uncle, Gabriel More, sometime Fellow of Christ’s College in Cambridge, and sent to Eton ‘to perfect his Latin’. In a little autobiography included in the General Preface to his Opera omnia (1679), More describes how his rather thoughtful and studious nature early led him into conflict with his uncle and brother over the doctrine of predestination – he was the chastised for ‘a forwardness in philosophizing’. Entered under Robert Gell at Christ’s in Cambridge in late 1631, More shows himself to have been a gifted poet and an acute and sensitive student, early taking up the difficult subject of metaphysics as the main focus of his energies. However, by the time he graduated, like a number of other intellectual Puritans of his generation, he had become disillusioned with the scholastic masters of his metaphysical studies, and particularly with the apparent incompatibility between their teaching on the nature and origin of the soul and the doctrines of the Church.  Perhaps influenced by Gell, who was clearly interested in the Greek Fathers and their humanist and spiritualist successors, More began to study the ‘Platonists and mystical divines’, and read in them an approach to the problem of the soul much more attuned, he considered, to the doctrines of the Church. On learning what they had to say about the ‘purgative course that is previous to the illuminative’, More was particularly inspired, he tells us, by the Theologia Germanica, with its practical emphasis on ‘extinguishing the human will’ in order to live only by and through the divine. In his General Preface More then recounts how over the next four years (1636-40) he embarked on a period of ‘Holy Discipline and Conflict’, during which time he felt the ‘divine principle’ within him gradually triumph over the ‘animal nature’. This freed him, he declares, from the ‘insatiable Desire and Thirst… after the knowledge of things’ which had possessed him during his first inquisitive but unhappy years of study.

The biographical essay example (expert):

Stephen Hawking Stephen Hawking was a scientist known for his work with black holes and relativity, and the author of popular science books like ‘A Brief History of Time.’ Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England. His birthday was also the 300th anniversary of the death of Galileo — long a source of pride for the noted physicist. The eldest of Frank and Isobel Hawking’s four children, Hawking was born into a family of thinkers. His Scottish mother earned her way into Oxford University in the 1930s — a time when few women were able to go to college. His father, another Oxford graduate, was a respected medical researcher with a specialty in tropical diseases. Hawking’s birth came at an inopportune time for his parents, who didn’t have much money. The political climate was also tense, as England was dealing with World War II and the onslaught of German bombs in London, where the couple was living as Frank Hawking undertook research in medicine. In an effort to seek a safer place, Isobel returned to Oxford to have the couple’s first child. The Hawkings would go on to have two other children, Mary and Philippa. And their second son, Edward, was adopted in 1956. The Hawkings, as one close family friend described them, were an “eccentric” bunch. Dinner was often eaten in silence, each of the Hawkings intently reading a book. The family car was an old London taxi, and their home in St. Albans was a three-story fixer-upper that never quite got fixed. The Hawkings also housed bees in the basement and produced fireworks in the greenhouse. Source biography.com
Adele Singer Adele is a Grammy Award-winning artist whose throwback, soulful sound has made her an international success with hits like “Rolling in the Deep,” “Someone Like You” and “Hello.” Adele is a British singer-songwriter who has sold millions of albums worldwide and won a total of 15 Grammys as well as an Oscar. Adele’s first two albums, 19 and 21 , earned her critical praise and a level of commercial success unsurpassed among her peers. After becoming a mom in 2012, Adele returned to the charts with the ballad “Hello” in 2015, the lead single from what was dubbed her comeback album 25 . In 2017, she won five Grammys for her work on 25 , including album, record and song of the year. Early Life, Education and Influences Adele Laurie Blue Adkins was born on May 5, 1988, in North London, England. Adele was the only child of Penny Adkins, an “arty mom” who was just 18 at the time of her birth, and a Welsh father, Mark Evans, who left the family when Adele was only four years old. Evans remained in contact with his daughter up until her teen years, when his problems with alcohol and increasing estrangement from his daughter caused their relationship to deteriorate. By contrast, Adele grew close to her mom, who encouraged her young daughter “to explore, and not to stick with one thing.” Early on, Adele developed a passion for music. She gravitated toward the songs of Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige and Destiny’s Child. But her true, eye-opening moment came when she was 15 and she happened upon a collection of Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald records at a local shop. “There was no musical heritage in our family,” Adele told The Telegraph in a 2008 interview. “Chart music was all I ever knew. So when I listened to the Ettas and the Ellas, it sounds so cheesy, but it was like an awakening. I was like, oh, right, some people have proper longevity and are legends. I was so inspired that as a 15-year-old I was listening to music that had been made in the ’40s.” While clearly bright, Adele wasn’t oriented towards traditional classroom settings. Instead, her mother enrolled her in the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology, which counts Amy Winehouse as an alum. While at school, Adele cut a three-track demo for a class project that was eventually posted on her MySpace page. When executives at XL Recordings heard the tracks, they contacted the singer and, in November 2006, just four months after Adele had graduated school, signed her to a record deal. Source https://www.biography.com/musicians/adele
Naziyah Mahmood, Rocket Scientist, Multi Black Belt, Renaissance Woman Where to start with this amazing woman? Scientist for the European Space Agency? Check. Artist and poet? Check. Martial artist fluent in several forms? Check. Woman of peace and faith? Check. Champion of geeks everywhere: triple check. “If you let them bully you once, they will do it again and again.” Her father told her that, and her path of self-determination, unyielding curiosity, and fierce protectiveness of everybody’s right to fit outside someone else’s box has grown ever since. Nayizah grew up the daughter of an Englishwoman and a Pakistani father in none-too-hospitable Glasgow, Scotland. One of her earliest memories is of her mother coming home bloodied and crying after a vicious hate attack. Her father put Nayizah and her siblings into martial arts classes, the implicit promise being that no one in the Mahmood family would be bloodied again. Did we neglect to mention she is also trained in Ninjitsu? When kids talk about role models and superheroines, they need look If I don’t train, I get really restless. I train in the open ground in any weather. I would come home after training in the rain and get told off by my mum! I’ve trained through storms before. When something like this becomes a part of you, you just can’t let it go.”no further than Naziyah Mahmood. She was born with a visual impairment that makes it difficult for her to distinguish a person’s facial features unless at close range… yet has trained so diligently that she can stop a sword blade an inch from someone’s skin. This devout Muslim counts as her influences Miyamoto Musashi (“He was an eccentric and his methods were odd, but it just made him more likable!”), Hattori Hanzo, Tomore Gozenshe (a female Samurai warrior), and the one and only Bruce Lee. All the things I do link together very beautifully and balance out. So, martial arts master. That’d be enough for tons of people. But Ms. Mahmood decided, Why not get a Masters in Space Mission Analysis and Design, with honors in Physics/Astrophysics? And enter poetry contests, and contend with the prejudices of those who looked down on a woman of Muslim faith embracing the world of science, and educate people (often without even trying to) around the world about the great buffet that is life, creativity, possibility, and joy. I like that feeling of being on the edge of learning.

A biographical essay, in addition to entertaining and informative tasks, performs another important function: it helps readers to form their own moral compass and values.

In an essay about the lives of other people, the writer shows examples of how we can find a way out of a difficult life situation, what is the secret of happiness and success, what is the meaning of life, what is good and evil, and where is the line that cannot be crossed, and more.

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  • How to write an essay outline | Guidelines & examples

How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples

Published on August 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph , giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold.

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Table of contents

Organizing your material, presentation of the outline, examples of essay outlines, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay outlines.

At the stage where you’re writing an essay outline, your ideas are probably still not fully formed. You should know your topic  and have already done some preliminary research to find relevant sources , but now you need to shape your ideas into a structured argument.

Creating categories

Look over any information, quotes and ideas you’ve noted down from your research and consider the central point you want to make in the essay—this will be the basis of your thesis statement . Once you have an idea of your overall argument, you can begin to organize your material in a way that serves that argument.

Try to arrange your material into categories related to different aspects of your argument. If you’re writing about a literary text, you might group your ideas into themes; in a history essay, it might be several key trends or turning points from the period you’re discussing.

Three main themes or subjects is a common structure for essays. Depending on the length of the essay, you could split the themes into three body paragraphs, or three longer sections with several paragraphs covering each theme.

As you create the outline, look critically at your categories and points: Are any of them irrelevant or redundant? Make sure every topic you cover is clearly related to your thesis statement.

Order of information

When you have your material organized into several categories, consider what order they should appear in.

Your essay will always begin and end with an introduction and conclusion , but the organization of the body is up to you.

Consider these questions to order your material:

  • Is there an obvious starting point for your argument?
  • Is there one subject that provides an easy transition into another?
  • Do some points need to be set up by discussing other points first?

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Within each paragraph, you’ll discuss a single idea related to your overall topic or argument, using several points of evidence or analysis to do so.

In your outline, you present these points as a few short numbered sentences or phrases.They can be split into sub-points when more detail is needed.

The template below shows how you might structure an outline for a five-paragraph essay.

  • Thesis statement
  • First piece of evidence
  • Second piece of evidence
  • Summary/synthesis
  • Importance of topic
  • Strong closing statement

You can choose whether to write your outline in full sentences or short phrases. Be consistent in your choice; don’t randomly write some points as full sentences and others as short phrases.

Examples of outlines for different types of essays are presented below: an argumentative, expository, and literary analysis essay.

Argumentative essay outline

This outline is for a short argumentative essay evaluating the internet’s impact on education. It uses short phrases to summarize each point.

Its body is split into three paragraphs, each presenting arguments about a different aspect of the internet’s effects on education.

  • Importance of the internet
  • Concerns about internet use
  • Thesis statement: Internet use a net positive
  • Data exploring this effect
  • Analysis indicating it is overstated
  • Students’ reading levels over time
  • Why this data is questionable
  • Video media
  • Interactive media
  • Speed and simplicity of online research
  • Questions about reliability (transitioning into next topic)
  • Evidence indicating its ubiquity
  • Claims that it discourages engagement with academic writing
  • Evidence that Wikipedia warns students not to cite it
  • Argument that it introduces students to citation
  • Summary of key points
  • Value of digital education for students
  • Need for optimism to embrace advantages of the internet

Expository essay outline

This is the outline for an expository essay describing how the invention of the printing press affected life and politics in Europe.

The paragraphs are still summarized in short phrases here, but individual points are described with full sentences.

  • Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages.
  • Provide background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press.
  • Present the thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
  • Discuss the very high levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe.
  • Describe how literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites.
  • Indicate how this discouraged political and religious change.
  • Describe the invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg.
  • Show the implications of the new technology for book production.
  • Describe the rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible.
  • Link to the Reformation.
  • Discuss the trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention.
  • Describe Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation.
  • Sketch out the large-scale effects the Reformation would have on religion and politics.
  • Summarize the history described.
  • Stress the significance of the printing press to the events of this period.

Literary analysis essay outline

The literary analysis essay outlined below discusses the role of theater in Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park .

The body of the essay is divided into three different themes, each of which is explored through examples from the book.

  • Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
  • Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
  • Introduce the research question : How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
  • Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
  • Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
  • Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
  • Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
  • Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
  • Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
  • Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
  • Answer the research question
  • Indicate areas for further study

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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You will sometimes be asked to hand in an essay outline before you start writing your essay . Your supervisor wants to see that you have a clear idea of your structure so that writing will go smoothly.

Even when you do not have to hand it in, writing an essay outline is an important part of the writing process . It’s a good idea to write one (as informally as you like) to clarify your structure for yourself whenever you are working on an essay.

If you have to hand in your essay outline , you may be given specific guidelines stating whether you have to use full sentences. If you’re not sure, ask your supervisor.

When writing an essay outline for yourself, the choice is yours. Some students find it helpful to write out their ideas in full sentences, while others prefer to summarize them in short phrases.

You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.

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  1. How to Write a Biography Essay and Get an A+

    Biography essay outline. Before writing a biography essay, it's important to pay attention to essay structure and build up a biography outline. An outline is generally a schematic plan that helps to organize biography essays in accordance with the writer's preference. In this, the primary task is to create a list of the most significant ...

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    Download Article. 1. Mention the person's name, birth date, and place of birth. Start by including key biographical details like the person's full name and their birth date. You can also provide the person's place of birth, especially if it will give readers context for the rest of the biography.

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    A good outline for a biography can vary depending on the specific subject and the desired structure of the narrative. However, here's a general outline that can serve as a starting point: A. Introduction. a) Hook or engaging opening to capture the reader's attention. b) Background information (birthplace, date, family, etc.)

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    Ibrahim Akturk. March 29, 2022. A biography essay is a type of academic writing that tells the story of someone's life, typically focusing on their achievements, struggles, and impact on the world. In this article, we'll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write a compelling biography essay that engages readers and tells the ...

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    The best biography essays explore the person's life and work and offer little-known facts about them. Refrain from settling for superficial accounts - dig deeper to discover more about them. Biographical Essay Outline. Even though a biographical essay is a unique form of writing, it still requires you to follow a specific format and structure.

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    Discover biographical essay examples that weave compelling narratives, guiding you on how to craft a vivid and memorable portrayal of any individual's journey. Jun 23, 2023. ... Outline the main sections of your essay, such as the introduction, background information, key events or milestones, challenges faced, achievements, and conclusion ...

  7. How to Write A Biography Essay

    First, determine the scope of the person's life (years), pick a central theme, and write out the biography using the classic narrative arc. Many college courses include an essay writing component, and a biography essay is one of the types of essays that you may encounter, especially if you are taking courses in liberal arts disciplines such ...

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    Biography essay vs. Autobiography essay vs. profile essay vs. narrative essay. Although a biographical essay tells a story, it differs from narrative essays, autobiography essays, profile essays, and narrative essays. A biographic essay is usually formal, meaning it should use an objective tone and language. A biography writer tells a story ...

  9. Want an A+ Biography Essay? Check Out Our Tips and Sample!

    On the other hand, the second type of biographical essay does not follow the academic structure and only presents certain moments and experiences of the subject's life. Biography Essay Outline. Even if they differ from other essays in some ways, biographical essays still follow a specific pattern and structure.

  10. How to Write a Biography Essay

    Create a five-paragraph structure for your essay, with an introduction, at least two body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Keep your writing within the allotted word count. The easiest method is to write the facts chronologically, focusing on each rubric's major life events.

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    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.

  12. How to Write a Biographical Essay

    Write the body of the essay. Start with an introduction that provides context and background information, followed by the body, which should include evidence and examples that support your thesis statement. Write a conclusion. Summarize your points and reiterate your thesis statement. Proofread and edit.

  13. 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.

  14. How to Write a Biography: A Complete Guide with 12 Pro Tips

    6. Make a timeline of a person's life. To help you organize your research, create a timeline of a person's entire life, from birth. Draw a long line on a piece of paper and sketch out as many details about a person's life as possible. Highlight important events or moments on the timeline.

  15. How to Write a Biography Essay

    Divide your essay into the standard five-paragraph format, which includes an introduction, a minimum of two body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Remember to remain within the word limit as given to you. The purpose of the outline of the biography essay is to ease your way through the essay. The outline will help you to organize and frame your essay.

  16. How To Write A Biography Essay, with Outline

    In conclusion, a good biography essay will brief detail the events and experiences in a person's life. Such details need to be detailed as a narration and in prose form. Any quotes used in the biography, such as interviews, must be cited appropriately. From the information contained in the body of the biography, it should be possible to draw ...

  17. How to Write a Biographical Essay: Tips, Outlines & Examples

    The Purpose Behind Biographical Essays. The primary aim of crafting a biographical essay is to inform, educate, and inspire readers by unraveling the life story of an exceptional individual. It provides writers with a platform to delve into the complexities of human character, motivations, and aspirations. Selecting Your Subject. Choosing ...

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    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.

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    Tips for writing a biography outline. Identify yourself as a writer. Even before commencing the writing exercise, you should identify yourself as a writer. State who you are, your background, and how qualified you are to draft the outline altogether. This will instill some confidence in the audience who will, later on, read the outline.

  20. How to Draft Interesting Biography Essays

    A biography essay doesn't need to be complex. As with all forms of essay writing, you should always start by writing an outline. The following section will help guide you as you write your essay. Biography Essay Structure. The five-paragraph essay format is the simplest way to structure your biography essay.

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    A biographical essay is considered one of the varieties of a story that combines elements of literature and journalism. The "sketching" of such texts is expressed in the fact that the author strives to outline the portrait and character of the hero or to display the main points and contours of the problem.

  22. How to Write an Essay Outline

    Revised on July 23, 2023. An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph, giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold. You'll sometimes be asked to submit an essay outline as a separate ...