How to write a biographical essay: Best guide

How to write a biographical essay: Best guide

Do you want to know how to write a biographical essay? Have you been trying, but you don’t have the correct guidelines? Relax, we are here to make it easy for you. You will be writing an exemplary biographical essay with such swiftness after going through the provided steps.

What is a biographical essay?

A biography is a nonfictional form of literature that describes the life of a real person. It includes authentic information, personality, motivations, and stories surrounding the person’s life. Intimate information that may not have been included in the overall overview of the person’s life can also be added to the biography paper.

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Many biographies that have been written always seem to be about famous figures. But, a biography can also be written about not well-known people that just lived remarkable lives. Writing a biography about a person’s life can only be possible if that person or a family member permits it.

Importance of a biographical essay

Teaches practical and real-life lessons

A biography allows you to study the things that a person has been through. This makes you relate with that person since humans have real-life and psychological similarities. It also offers the chance to formulate own personal mentors.

Gives ideas on how to deal with situations in life

When you read a biography, you learn how to act concerning certain circumstances. Also, it gives you the information to deal with the hard phases of life. You learn tips and tricks of coping with particular situations in life. It provides reasons why life has put you in those situations and how to react to them.

It offers constant motivation

Biographical content is not an account of a person’s life but also self-help books. Further inspiration is given when you read about a person’s life, experiences, and diverse standpoints. You learn how to apply their solutions and wisdom in your life by reading about them.

You get to hear stories about other people

You learn to be sympathetic towards other people through gaining knowledge about their lives, force and art regardless of their statuses. A moral connection is developed with the biographer, who at some point, you regard as a role model.

The biographer widens your scope of thought, and teach you about miracles in real life. Through reading, listening, and observing others’ stories, you learn that you are not alone.

Elements of a good biographical essay

Deciding what to put in a biography is the first step that can be eased by using a biography essay template. There may be significant differences in the content and length of biographies. But, in all kinds of biographies, there are some common elements.

Begin with basic information about the person

The length of the biography should be put into consideration. This will assist in deciding how much and how thorough the information should be. An easy paragraph will consist of basic details like;

  • Major accomplishments
  • The present location of the residence
  • Professional experience
  • Field of expertise
  • Date and place of birth
  • Date and place of death
  • Educational background

Expand to add in-depth details

As the biography gets longer, what is added will become more compound. The more words you use, the more information you can regard for addition.

 A biography includes more information about the person’s history if it is several pages long. What is significant to them and what made them who they were will be discussed in a book.

These are some of the key element that you want to include in a longer biography;

Birth and childhood

Providing information about the place and time the person was born and raised will provide readers with historical content. Like writing about a civil rights activist, share details about the type of circumstances the person was raised in.

Adult life

The subject’s adult life is going to be the center of attention in your biography. Please focus on the significant events like when a certain relationship began or a dramatic change in their life.


If the person you are writing about is deceased, covering events that happened before he/she died might be a good idea. The focus should be on the kind of legacy he/she left behind.

Interesting facts

Share fascinating stories about the person and things the readers will find delightful.

Quote about the subject

Consider adding a few quotes showing what others have said if the person has been the topic of books or news.

Photograph of the individual

Include a photo of the person if the biography will be published online or distributed via print.

Consider your audience

You’ll be faced with questions about what to add and how to address it as you write a more involving biography. Things like why your subject is interesting and who will be interested to read your biography should be kept in mind.

Reading different biography examples can show you how to write biography sociological essays for different audiences. Write the biography based on information that will be important to your audience and mostly speaks about your subject.

Details that are to the point and interesting to your audience are what you should choose. Why the biography is needed and who will read it are some things you should put into consideration. Parts of the subject’s life that the audience may want to know are what you should focus on.

Choose your focus

Knowing how to divide your biography will help you decide what details are more important. There is no need to spend a lot of time on the subject’s early career if the focus is on his/her service in a war. But if the early career influenced the subject’s actions during the war, it should be considered.

 The small things

The small things are what breathe life into a biography when you are writing. Telling of anecdotal stories is acceptable. Include them if they form areas of your back story and memory. The audience is keen to know who the characters are and what they did, not just to read significant events.

Biographical essay writing format

write biography essay

A good biography should be written following the standard essay writing format. It should have an introduction that consists of a thesis, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Introduction of a biographical essay

The introduction should be the first section of your essay. There are various requirements and factors to consider as you write your introduction. These are the instructions on how to start a biographical essay;

  • it should quickly capture the attention of the reader
  • A quote spoken by a famous person is what you can start with to make readers understand the subject
  • You can cite an anecdote to deliver a strong message about the subject. This keeps the readers engaged
  • Continue by describing the basic information to help the readers in connecting with the biography
  • included a thesis statement after the introduction to help express the subject’s essence
  • The statement is a template that your essay depends on. Shape it to justify your thesis statement

Biographical essay body paragraphs

  • add information from your research into the body paragraphs and make it stick close to the thesis statement
  • The information should be described from their childhood to maturity and the kind of impressions their families had
  • include important details that tell of their human nature qualities
  • share experiences that have an impact on their temperament
  • Don’t focus on dull information, instead, share personal details about the subject and those of people close to them
  • Describe their achievements to shed light on how it has influenced the modern society or how it continues to do so
  • Include memories from the subjects’ life that impacted the resolution they took to arouse the reader’s interest
  • mention any major event that changed the subjects life, like how they overcame challenges in their lives

Conclusion of the biographical essay

A brief description of the events and experiences about the person is what is covered in the conclusion paragraph. These events and experiences are of extreme importance.

  • Quotes, legacies, and continuation of their work that support your thesis should be mentioned
  • You can add a piece of less known information about the person
  • tell the influence they have on society today
  • Conclude the biography with a forthright comment on their influence on the modern society

How to write a biography essay

For you to write a good biographical essay, follow steps in your writing process. Before you begin the process, read a sample biography essay online to give yourself an idea of what is expected. These are the steps you need;

Step 1: choose a subject

Choosing a subject means choosing the person you are going to write about. They should be renowned personalities. Since you will research about them, they need to be someone whose information is not hard to find. You will need information from articles, magazines, newspapers, and books.

Write about someone you are interested in so that you are motivated to do extensive research on the person. Your biography should not include everything about your subject’s life. You are advised to choose the scope of their life you are interested in before you start.

The birth and death of your subject are the natural starting and ending points of your essay. You will include events, experiences, and accomplishments worth remembering within their life.

In few circumstances, you may require to get permission to write about your subject. If you want to publish your essay or use it as part of a book, you require permission. If the subject is deceased, you may not need permission. Sometimes, the subject may be willing to be biographed and may give you useful information if you ask them. Working with them will make your work more credible and compelling.

Step 2: doing a research

Reading about your subject gives you an image of who they are even though you already know them. The more you read about them, the clearer the image becomes. You see what they accomplished and what they are famous for. Different writers have different opinions and will portray your subject differently. From each writer, gather new information about the life of your subject. This is why it is important to read a wide range of sources.

As you are researching, note down interesting information such as dates, facts, events, and names. If your subject is a historical figure, include information about the period they lived in and how it affected their lifestyle. Put into consideration different opinions about your subject, especially if they are contradicting. A good biography recreates a subject’s life and experiences.

The information you use in your biography should be factual. If your subject is a famous person, there is a chance there are scandals written about them. Avoid such information as it is not verifiable. Your sources should be scholarly works. Avoid using information from websites because it is hard to retrace the source. Use primary and secondary sources that can be trusted.

Primary sources are directly traced to your subject, and they are the most reliable source of a biography essay. These include personal journals, interviews, memoirs, and emails. In other cases, a subject may reveal information about themselves in their social media accounts, personal websites, and professional bios. Secondary sources include magazine articles, books, and documentaries based on the subject.

Step 3: Create an outline

Once you have decided on a subject and determined the scope, come up with an outline. Create a fully-fledged outline to have a clear idea of your scope. This is where you will begin, where you will end, and how you will get there. Your outline should follow the biographical essay format demonstrated above.

 Your biography essay outline should include the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Your outline will help organize the information you collected into specific sections of your paper. To give a clear representation of your subject’s life, you should arrange the events in chronological order. This will help the reader keep track of the timeline and understand the progression of events.

The best way of creating and organizing an outline is by numbering all your points in order of significance. Follow each point with subpoints and bullets. This will help ensure that you meet the word count and other requirements given by your professor. This outline format is meant to ease your writing process.

Step 4; developing a thesis statement

At the end of your introduction, you will be expected to present your thesis statement. This will be the anchor which supports your whole essay. Be careful how you structure it. Your thesis should announce an aspect of your subject. The information you provide should support your thesis.

Step 5; write the essay

Begin writing your essay with the introduction paragraph. This is where you draw your reader and create the curiosity to continue reading. Your introduction should be captivating, without revealing too much information. Find ways to spice up your introduction, such as;

  • Mentioning an interesting fact about the subject
  • Using a quote that they said or was said about them
  • Coming up with interesting anecdotes about your subject

Complete your introduction with your thesis statement to seal the enthusiasm of reading your paper.

Make your body as interesting as possible. Make sure you do not veer off from the theme. When writing your body, including all the detailed information you collected. It is your job to make your reader as informed about your subject as possible.

Look at biography essay examples to see how other writers bring out the information to keep their readers interested. Discuss your subject’s accomplishments, influences, experiences, and society’s view. Were they considered a hero or a societal outlaw?

The conclusion is where you wrap up your biographical essay. End your essay with a bang. Do not simply restate your thesis and main points. Find clever ways to paraphrase them. Narrow down your essay into your subject’s contribution or legacy in modern life.

Write about how your subject is remembered today. Give your audience a sense of finality by closing your essay with today’s world reflection of your subject.

Step 6; referencing and citation

As you were researching your subject, you got information from primary and secondary sources. As you write, academic ethics dictate that you include in-text citations along with the information you outsourced. Once your paper is done, you should create a reference list of all the works you cited and used in your paper. As a writer, you ought to acknowledge other writers when you use their work to build your research.

Step 7; editing and proofreading

This is an important step that writers and students often overlook. Your essay may have errors that a computer will not point out. Such errors can only be spotted by proofreading your work. You can then edit any structural, grammatical, and format issues your essay may have. Confirm that your paper has a good flow. If you have time, you should do this after resting.

Asking a third party to help you proofread is also good as they will be a fresh pair of eyes. They will identify mistakes and errors that you may have overlooked. Take their suggestions and revisions into consideration and implement them to make your paper better.

How to improve your biographical essay

Now that you know how to write a biography, you can use these tactics to make your paper stand out. Even with the above information, your essay may end up being basic. Some of these tricks are;

1.      Create a timeline

You cannot write every detail of your subject’s life. Choose a timeline you will focus on and summarize the rest of the information. Arrange your point in order of the time to avoid having to reorganize your work later.

2.      Use a scholarly format of writing

A biographical narrative essay needs to be written in a compelling way to show your readers that your subject is worthy. This is why you need to use scholarly sources with verifiable facts. Use appropriate references such as APA, MLA, and Chicago.

3.      Include your thoughts

As a biographer, share your thoughts, feelings, and opinions on the subject’s life. You can talk about why you think certain events were impactful, important, or significant. This will keep the reader interested in what you have to say.

4.      Write in a clear and concise style

For you to write a compelling story, choose a subject you are interested in. That way, it will not be hard to convince the reader that your subject is worth writing about. Use the right sentence structures and appropriate word choices.

5.      Include flashbacks in your writing

You can intercut your subject’s experience from their adult life with a related experience from their childhood.  Using flashbacks allows you to include relevant past information without filling the information in the background section. It is also a clever and fun way of indulging your reader.

6.      Seek help if you need it

If you are not conversant with the format, writing a biography can be tasking. In case you are having a hard time writing, seek help from professional biography writing services.

You do not have to struggle with writing a biographical essay anymore. This article has equipped you with information on how to write one using the best strategies. If you use it, it will ensure your paper stands out. It has also given you extra information in case you did not know writing a biography and what it entails. If you still need help, do not hesitate to contact our homework writing service.

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