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Tips and Tricks for Beginners: How to Write a Biographical Essay

The biography essay is a type of writing assignment that most students will encounter at one point or another. It is basically an essay of a series of events that make one’s life. At one point or another, every student will have to write a biography essay for class, but the level of sophistication and detail will differ depending on writing and life experience.

Still, each biography essay will include some common elements. Here are some tips and tricks for someone writing their first biographical essay:

Include the basics.

Find out the basic facts about a person’s life. Start with an encyclopedia or almanac, but also check journals, articles, videos and interviews if they are available. Checking online resources are helpful but only if they have verifiable sources, since it’s fairly easy to post information that isn’t always accurate. Once you’ve collected the basics you should think of including only things like birth, parents, sibling briefly if doesn’t relate or fit in as importantly in your subject’s life.

Include examples of the most interesting details.

Fill the body paragraphs of your biography essay with details and material that gives plenty of insight on your subject’s personality. For example, consider locations they lived in or places they visited. What can you find out about these places as societies? You may know, for instance, that your subject was once lost in a library before coming upon a book of verses that later led to his or her own poetic life. What was that book? Can you find pictures of the library and imagine what it must have been like to be lost in its halls? These are the kinds of details that bring your subject to life and makes your paper a lot more interesting to your reader.

Consider some questions.

Many students struggle with biographical essays because they aren’t sure what to write about. An essay is too small to include every detail of your subject’s, so it’s important you narrow your focus to just one or two aspects that say something unique about your subject’s personality and character. You can generally find a focus for your essay by asking yourself a few questions.

For instance, was there an incident in your subject’s youth that shaped his or her personality? Do they have a personality or character trait that has driven them to succeed or has impeded their progress? What are some turning points in their life? Asking yourself these few questions will help you identify several different episodes or phases in their life worth exploring and discussing in your essay.

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