The Characteristics of good biographies Must be based on authenticity and honesty, should be objective when presenting the lives of subjects and trying to avoid stereotypes.


Biographies are narrative and expository texts whose function is to give an account of the life of a person. At the time of writing a biography, special care must be taken and be truthful throughout the text, since what is narrated are real facts that happened to an individual.


But this is not all, good biographies must present details of the person's life, such as his birth, his family, his education, his weaknesses and strengths, among others, to understand the course of this.


However, biographies can not simply be a list of events, since this would be a timeline.


In this sense, in the biographical texts must exist a thematic progression, which will allow to relate these events, giving meaning to the narration.


7 Main features of biographies

1- General topic: individual

As stated above, biography is a narrative about a person's life. In this sense, the first thing to take into account when writing a biography is about who is going to be treated.


There is a great variety of subjects on which a biographical text can be written, from figures recognized worldwide, such as Elon Musk Or Marie Curie, to ourselves, which would be an autobiography.


2- Character of the subject

In the biographies, a description of the main elements that define the character of the subject must be included, since this description will allow the reader to understand the decisions that the subject took or the achievements that reached.


For example, if you do a biography about George Washington, you could mention that since he was young he was very mature and had a great sense of responsibility, elements that made him an outstanding military leader and a hero for the United States.


3- Limited theme: focus

Because a person's life has many stages and many events, biography can focus on only one facet of the person.


For example, if you make a biography about Stanislao Cannizzaro , Who was an Italian scientist, professor and politician, could focus the biographical text in only one of these facets, for example, that of the scientist, and thus develop the contributions that this gave to science.


This delimitation should be included in the thesis of the biography, which is in the introduction.


4- Language function: informative

The type of language that should be used in biographies is the referential or informative, since what is sought is to transmit information about the life of the individual studied.


5- Organization

Most biographies follow chronological order. Because it is a narrative about real events, beginning in the early years of life of the figure in question could provide details that facilitate the reader's understanding.


The 7 Characteristics of the Most Important Biographies"Biography is perhaps the most interesting branch of composition." Walter Scott


The chronological order can be divided into stages of life; For example: birth and childhood, adult life and death (in case the subject studied has died).


However, the organization of the text will depend on the needs of the author. Some of the most common non-chronological models are:


By subjects that have affected the studied subject or phases that it has crossed. For example, a biography about the painter Pablo Picasso could focus on the periods of works of this: cubist, blue, pink, black, among others.

By interviews: In this case, the data presented are obtained through interviews with people who knew, or know, the subject studied. In this sense, the biographical text will be a recount of the testimonies of the interviewees.

In media res: This is a literary term that refers to the anachronistic order, in which analepsis (jumps in time into the past) and prolepsis (jumps in time into the future) are used.

This means that the text does not begin with the birth of the individual but at some point in the life of the individual, and from there"leaps"to past events, and then return to the point where the story began.


Stuart, A Life Backwards, by author Alexander Masters, is an example of this type of biography.


The 7 Characteristics of the Most Important Biographies 1Stuart's cover, A Life Backwards, Stuart Clive Shorter's biography, written by Alexander Masters


6- Recount of at least one relevant event in the person's life

The biography must include at least one event highlighting the life of the individual being studied; This will make the text interesting to the reader.


For example, if you make a biography about Antoine Lavoisier , One should speak of its discovery, the law of conservation of mass; If it is a biography about the scientist John Dalton , It would be appropriate to talk about the atomic theory raised by it and how it was influenced by the discoveries of other scientists of the time.


7- Veracity

The most important feature of a biography is that it must be truthful and precise, since it is about the life of a person.


In this sense, the sources of information must be carefully checked, to determine if what they transmit is true or not.


The best sources of information in these cases are autobiographies, books and letters written by the individual studied, interviews with the individual (in case he has not died) and interviews with other people who are related, or who have been related, With the individual.