In many a special, happy, funny, tragic or sad situation, the idea comes to mind that this event should actually be written down. This is exactly where biography begins, because in a biography, the author tells the story of a life.
Because every life is unique, there is no general guide to writing a biography. However, there are some basic rules and tips on how the author can proceed if he wants to write his own biography.
Instructions and tips:
Since a biography tells a life, the same rules apply to them as they apply to all other works of fiction. In that sense, writing a biography requires learning to write creatively. In addition, the author should consider how he wants to write his biography.
Formally biographies are divided into four main forms:
The classic autobiography tells life in chronological form. It starts with the birth and includes the entire life until the time the biography is written. In the foreground is the own ego and its development over time. However, since a person’s development is always influenced by external circumstances, special events and current events, classical autobiography always includes external relationships and backgrounds.
Memoirs are memories. Also memoirs are usually written chronologically and tell the life path continuously. In contrast to classical autobiography, however, memoirs focus on the external events, contexts, and backgrounds that have shaped the person, rather than the person and his or her development itself. Mostly, memoirs tell of events that interest and stylistically characterize a broad public Memoirs through a relaxed, chatty narrative style, partly with anecdotes.
The memory of life places the self and its development in the foreground. However, in contrast to classical autobiography, the life memory does not tell the entire life in chronological form, but focuses on individual events or specific stages of life.
An autobiographical novel, unlike the other three forms of biography, facts and thought, mingles. The reader does not learn what parts are true and what parts the author invented. In this respect, an autobiographical novel is written just like any other novel.
A good biography is characterized by the fact that it actually tells a life and is just as alive as life itself. This means that a biography is not about enumerating soberly certain experiences or reflecting on certain events.
Rather, it is about telling an authentic, true life story with its different ups and downs, goals and desires, thoughts and feelings, decisions and backgrounds. However, the author can always decide for himself what and how much he wants to communicate. That is, the author determines whether he is chronological or begins his biography at a key experience or a specific turning point in his life.
In addition, the author can tell about what seems important and narrative to him, as well as omit everything that he considers to be unimportant or of which he thinks, it does not fit into the desired overall picture. In addition, a biography does not necessarily have to be written in ego form.
But before the author can write his biography, he has to create a concept and gather information and memories. It would hardly be possible to tell a whole life without a concept as a basic framework and orientation aid.
Writing a biography is always a journey into the past and a confrontation with one’s own life and one’s own person, which is probably just the charm of a biography. There are different possibilities for research.
A very helpful source are records of days gone by, such as diaries, photo albums or letters. Likewise, conversations with family members and friends can help to close blackouts.
Once the author has compiled all the important memories and decides which events to describe and which people to mention in what order, he can start writing his biography.