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It's All About Me

I believe everyone has a story to tell. We all have been through ‘stuff’, learned lessons and moved on. Most of these lessons we teach our children and that’s where we leave it. But what if your story could shape the lives of others? What if your story is the one that motivates someone? So you meet with someone like me who listens and agrees your story would touch others. But now comes the question: Do I write an autobiography? A memoir? Or hire someone to write a biography?

Let’s start with a biography. It is an account of someone’s life written by someone else. Generally permission is given to write a biography, but we’ve all seen them; the unauthorized biography of someone. This means that the person did not give permission to have their story written and therefore, may not be a factual account.

Many biographies are written about presidents, world leaders, royalty or celebrities and usually by someone who is passionate about that person, has spent many hours researching and writing.

There are five types of biographies:

  • Scholarly chronicle. This is an historical portrayal of an individual’s life. Those titles are usually The History of … or The Chronicles of….

  • Intellectual biography. Does not need a chronicle structure, but rather develops a narrative of a life through the conceptual analysis of the subject’s motives and beliefs.

  • Life history writing. An umbrella term for writing diaries, feelings, emotions, opinions and personal essays. It does not have to be chronological in nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson was noted as writing personal essays.

  • Memoir biography. A newer genre, and still being debated, but this is simply an individual’s memory (or memories) of a significant event told to a biography writer. However, no one can tell a memory like the one who has it.

  • Narrative biography. The most popular and the one we are most familiar with. It is a portrayal of a life without the need for absolute truth or the need for a comprehensive account from birth to death.

There you have it. The world of biographies.

Next week: Memoirs

Until next time….

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