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Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write a Biography Essay

Biography Essay is a piece of writing that narrates the life story of someone else. That person could be a politician, a musician, an artist, an author, a scientist, a prodigy, or anyone popular or unpopular but impactful. Some people have written their autobiographies in their lives, while some people have impacted the world so strongly that multiple authors have come forward to narrate their life stories.

Biographies are written with the intent to dwell more into someone’s life and how situations and circumstances impacted that individual to make big decisions later on in their life. If you have been given an assignment or a project to write a biographical essay and need to know how to start, we are here to assist you on this journey. This blog is a step-by-step guide on how to write a biography essay.

What is a Biography Essay?

Biographical essays narrate the story of someone’s life and how they contributed to society. People look up to biographies to know more about a particular person’s life and background and how they led their life.

How To Start a Biography Essay?

Biography writing are no piece of cake, just like many other research papers. The author needs to grab the readers’ attention and keep them hooked. Following are some tips on how to start the essay compellingly:

Strong Start

The start of a Biographical essay must be so intriguing that readers instantly get curious to know more about the individual. The person you are writing about becomes your subject, and the whole essay revolves around them. Please don’t start the essay with a typical statement of where the subject was born and when they started studying.

The best way to start a biography writing piece is to add an interesting quote from your subject that defines them. Then, briefly mention the accomplishments and main events the individual is known for. After discussing that, add their birthday place and childhood events important to the subject.

Through Research

Start off by researching thoroughly about that individual. Reading and watching everything about them can help you understand your subject closely. Research enables you to know more about the subject’s personality, secret talents, and important life stories. It’s necessary to have complete and authentic background information about your subject before writing about their life story.

That’s why you should prefer relying on published articles, TV interviews, and works of other writers regarding your subject. Keep researching until you think that you are emotionally connected with your subject and prepared to write about them on your own.

Avoid Being Biased

Doesn’t matter how much you are inspired by that individual and connect with them, keep your essay from appearing to be biased. Your subject can be your favorite person, but expect the audience to connect and relate to the subject slowly.

Lead the life story slowly with authentic incidents while explaining the reasons for some important decisions the subject made and what are some incidents that impacted their overall life story. Let your audience decide what they want to feel and decide about that individual’s life.

Reflect On The Impact Of The Subject

Instead of staying rigid on your thesis statement, try to reflect more on the impact and legacy of the subject over the society as a whole. The main purpose of writing a biography is to allow readers to relate to the subject and why the audience should even read about the subject’s life. Your essay needs to tell the readers why this particular individual is being discussed and what impact it will make on them.

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How To Write A Biography Essay?

Biographies are written to introduce the audience to your subject and list key events that shaped the subject’s life and actions. That’s why biographical essays should be detailed and complete from all sides. Following are some expert tips on how to write a perfect biography essay:

Pick Your Subject Carefully

The particular person you are writing about should be someone famous or well-known. It should be someone people want to read about and are interested to know about. Don’t pick someone who doesn’t spark any interest in the audience and also doesn’t have much information available for research.

It’s always better to choose someone with plenty of available articles and research because it will help you observe the subject from different points of view. To be fully dedicated and determined in your biography writing journey, try to select someone that you like, someone you relate with or truly have an interest in.

You don’t always have to connect and relate to the subject to narrate their life story in case you are writing about someone popular who left a negative impact on society. In that case, you can research their life incidents and upbringing to explain their behavior and actions. Because even if the subject is a bad person, they are human, and humans always have reasons for their actions.

Make it Intriguing From the Start

A biographical essay with just a typical history, dates, and incidents is boring and not very engaging. You must show the audience what the subject is most known for and how much impact it has on society. If the subject is from ancient times or centuries ago, try to make the biography interesting by connecting behaviors from both timelines and how they changed drastically. For example, connect mental health issues popular today with what the subject faced in an era where mental health was just a myth.

Be sure to add things that the subject is known for. Start with quotes, remarks from other writers, headlines from the newspaper, popular nicknames or titles the individual had on the society. It will introduce your subject to the audience and ignite their curiosity. Let the audience slowly relate and connect with the subject.

Research

Here comes the most important part of the biographical essay: researching the subject’s life. The historical figure or the individual you’ve selected should be someone reputed and have articles published about them. The perfect picture and representation of your subject in the eyes of the audience all depend on your words and the details of your research.

It would be best if you were very clear about who the subject is, what they accomplished, and what makes them so different and popular. The more information you can find on the subject, the better your essay will be. Try to be as authentic as you can to establish your credibility. Gather information from published and trusted sources.

Stay Focused on The Specific Arc

There is always a reason why you are writing about a certain individual. Your subject must have an area of expertise and some important events that make them popular. Audiences, most of the time, don’t even care which school the subject went to and how their childhood was; they are focused on the events and accomplishments of the subject’s life that make an impact.

Arc is the particular story’s path, and your subject must have a way of life that led to some impactful events. Stay consistent with the main purpose of writing the biography, stay focused on the main events people want to know about, and emit details that are just fillers. For example, if you are writing about someone’s military service, you don’t have to add details of what the side jobs the subject did in the past or will do in future.

If you write a biographical essay about Barack Obama, you must focus on his development arc rather than his childhood stories. Your biographical essay should concentrate on the presidential election and his journey of becoming the first African-American president of the United States.

Emotional Appeal

Everything with an emotional appeal is meant to be understood and loved by the audience. Your subject must have accomplished some incredible things or must have something that created an influence on society. Having a logical argument is important, but without an emotional approach, your biographical essay will look dead and flat. That’s why the writer needs to have a deep understanding and relatable connection with the subject and their accomplishments.

Even for criminal Biographies, you need to add some emotional approach to some extent. Not to sympathize with the crimes but to let the audience understand the painful events in the criminal’s life that led him to take such extreme steps. You can also add points like how would the life of the subject be if they weren’t exposed to the cruelty of society.

Impact of Subject on Society

The purpose of writing a biographical essay about a particular subject is to expose their impact on society. Because humans might not be immortal, but their impact, whether it’s positive or negative, is going to live on for generations. Your biographical essay should reveal the purpose of choosing that subject and why the impact they created should be discussed.

A biographical essay about Nelson Mandela should include his anti-apartheid activism and his impact on society as the first black head of the state and the first president to be elected in a representative democratic election.

What Is The Purpose Of Biography?

Why do we need to write a biography or biography essay? The simple answer to this question is that we as humans always need someone to look up to, always wanting to explore life stories, and always in need of inspiration and motivation. Following are the three main purposes of writing biography essays.

Learning About Particular Figure

Biographies help us to have a clear idea of someone’s life and what experiences and tips we can extract from them as readers. Biography writing helps to give an overview of someone’s life story. They are the supreme tool to live life with that specific person and closely observe how much they’ve struggled and how they faced the challenges. Biography essays give us an insight into someone’s life and how those incidents impacted that individual.

To understand the subject’s actions

Biographies are not always written for positive, motivating, and successful historical figures. Negative and evil individuals in society also have biographies written about them so people can judge their decisions and learn what led them to take some gruesome actions. For example, biographies of popular serial killers like Jeffry Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacy who’ve terrorized society and murdered innocents. Their biographies state their upbringing and twisted killer minds and how an unhinged individual can cause disasters.

Interpret the story of life in a new light

Biographical essays serve the purpose of getting to know someone close and analyzing the subject’s personal opinions, background, decision-making, and problems faced by them. The purpose of writing a biographical essay is to give a clear idea about someone’s life and introduce the audience to that figure in a new light and new interpretations. Biographical essays help in highlighting important details of the subject’s life that are widely ignored, misunderstood, and misinterpreted.

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Elements of a Good Biography Essay

Biography writing holds an important place in literature because they highlights someone’s life and their contribution to society. Biographical essays have the power to make or break someone’s image in readers’ eyes, and that’s why they need to be accurate and authentic. Every biographical essay must have some key elements to become a good piece of writing about someone’s life. Following are some elements of a good biography essay that you need to keep in mind while writing:

Introduction

First of all, you need to introduce your subject to the audience. Start with something your subject is widely known for and what is the most popular achievement made by the subject. It’s very important to have a strong introduction to the subject because your audience might need to be more familiar with the subject and looking for a point of interest.

It would be best to hook the audience with something important and unusual about the subject. Your introduction as a writer also makes a massive difference in establishing your credibility. A line or two about how you see the subject personally and relate to him would help in adding emotional and sentimental appeal to the biographical essay.

Include Essential Details

Now, take the audience back to the start of the subject’s life. List down the date and place of birth, the parents, the family conditions, and the era in which the subject was born. Then move to give some insights into the subject’s childhood, emotional circumstances, adult life, unfolding events, and almost all notable early life events. These details help in understanding what kind of childhood the subject had and how it affected their psychology and thought process later in life.

Do include the conditions that put the subject into doing something that helped them recognize their speciality that later on will become a huge part of their life. This part of the biographical essay helps the audience to connect the subject’s accomplishments and future actions with their upbringing.

This element in biographical essays makes a massive impact on the audience and enables them to understand how certain situations and growing-up conditions can affect an individual. It shows a bigger picture to the audience and helps them feel the impact the subject made on society as a whole.

Turning Point

Now, this is the focus point of your biographical essay. There must be a point of realization or an important turning event in the subject’s life that turned their whole life upside down. That turning point deviated the subject from the usual routine and motivated them to do something extraordinary, something that became their identity, something they will be remembered for.

The turning point of the subject’s life can be anything: an accident, a horrible encounter, a false accusation, the sudden development of an urge, the discovery of something that was always residing inside the heart, and even the start or end of a relationship. People go through a lot in a lifetime, and the surrounding circumstances and encounters shape their attitude, behavior, perspective of life, and actions.

Achievements

That’s the part of a biographical essay that deals with notable achievements of the subject and what they contributed to society through their area of expertise. You must also connect the motivations or skills that the subject learned earlier in their life or at the turning point. The compelling way of adding details of their struggles and journey to make that achievement will intrigue the readers.

If the subject has contributed to doing something incredibly big or historical, you can also add details of how their discovery, invention, or research still contributes to the world. In the case of criminal biographies, writers can engage the readers by detailing the types of crimes committed by the subject and how they impacted society. So, it all depends on the subject you’ve selected for the biography essay.

The closure

The ending or the closure of a biographical essay will state how the subject is doing by the time the reader reads the essay. If the subject is dead, you can list the reason for their death and where they are buried. In case of a subject still living, you can provide the details of what the subject has been doing and how they are leading their lives.

In the closure statement, you must mention the subject’s impact on an individual and a bigger level. It’s important to give a strong closure to your subject on how their accomplishments have changed the world and how future generations will remember them.

Biography Essay Format

Biography essays are quite detailed because they outline the whole life of an individual. That’s why it’s important to pick a subject who’s made several achievements and has a lot of data available on their name. Biography essays might be a type of storytelling, but it requires a professional tone and a proper biography format. We have discussed the format of a standard biographical essay below.

Introduction

First, you have to give a strong introduction to the subject and also of your academic background and area of interest that led you to choose that particular subject. In the introduction, the main accomplishments of the subjects were briefly mentioned just to grab readers’ attention. You can start off by writing an interesting quote about the subject or a series of statements made by writers who researched and wrote about the subject earlier.

Body Paragraphs

Then comes the main body of the biographical essay, which contains all the necessary information about the subject that readers need to know. You can start with the childhood, parents, early circumstances, and childhood of the subject to add the background. Then, explain adult life and some notable events that shaped the subject’s life and decisions.

Conclusion

At the end, give a proper closure to your subject. The conclusion of your biographical essay should have the final statement of how the subject contributed to society with their achievements and what impact they left on society.

tip and tricks for writing a perfect biography essay

Biography Essay Outline

An outline provides a framework for the whole essay and keeps the work and events of the subject’s life organized. So much can happen in one’s life, and it would be so hard to compile everything in one biography essay. That’s why you need to make an outline for your biographical essay to keep it organized and help readers understand the events properly. Following are four major points that should be discussed in a biography essay.

Introduction

An introduction of the subject is a must-have thing in an essay. Start with a compelling introduction of the subject and state the purpose of writing the essay.

Early Life and Childhood

Add background information about the subject’s early life and notable childhood events that will help readers learn about the subject’s behavior and circumstances as a child.

Adulthood and notable accomplishments

Move on to adult life and some notable accomplishments by the subject that contributed massively to society and become the identification pillars of the subject.

Ending

End your essay with information regarding the subject at present. Add reason of death and burial place of the dead subject. For a living and working subject, you can add what they are working on currently and how they are leading their life.

Biography Essay Examples

Following are some popular examples of Biography Essays:

  • Michael Jackson: The King Of Pop

  • Nikola Tesla: A unappreciated genius

  • A detailed look over Marilyn Monroe

  • The success chart of “The Beatles.

  • Life of Nelson Mandela

  • The Twisted Life of Jeffrey Dahmer

Conclusion

Biography essays provide an insight into someone’s life and notable events that shaped their decisions and accomplishments. Biography essays are equally important for literary and commercial use. They served the main purpose of detailing someone’s life for the readers to learn and observe and also understand the subject’s life events.

A perfect biography writing starts with early life, goes on to adult life, then lists the subject’s achievements, and then ends with a proper closure. The biography essay writer should have their research complete over the subject, have emotional appeal in the essay, connect with the subject and the audience, and organize the outline of the Biography essay.

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