Learn how to plan, research, and write a biography!

Using a blend of non-fiction and fiction writing techniques, this course takes you through:

  • types of research and evidence
  • developing a theme
  • principles of good writing
  • types of outline

At the end of the course, you'll complete a 2,000 - 4,000 word project, and receive individual feedback from our academic staff.

Biographies are expressions of a life well-lived. But everyday life is often boring -- readers don't need to know about every cup of tea, every meditative walk, every conversation. In this course, you'll learn how to zero in on key events, identify a theme, and write with a purpose.

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Biographical Writing
    • The difference between a biography and autobiography
    • Unauthorised biographies
    • Using ghost writers in biographies
    • Choosing your subject
    • Biography vs. Memoir
  2. Researching a Biography
    • Types of Evidence
    • Using Evidence
    • Fair Use
    • Where to find evidence
    • Conducting an Interview
    • How to deal with conflicting sources and information
    • Citations and Referencing
  3. Developing Context
    • Determining Your Theme
    • Developing the theme
    • Themes and Structure
    • Using Context
  4. Short Biographies
    • Principles of the Short Biography
    • Distilling Information
    • Preparing to write from life experience
  5. Comprehensive Biographies
    • What makes a comprehensive biography comprehensive?
    • Writing a Great Biography
    • Voice in Writing
  6. Planning a Biography
    • The Short Outline
    • The Detail-Heavy Outline
    • Outlining the biography
    • Defining a theme, writing to a central theme
    • Word Budget
    • Organising Chapter Content
  7. Editing and Marketing a Biography
    • Editing
    • Writing a Sales Package
    • The Publishing Process
    • Publishing Processes for Ebooks
    • Self-Publishing Your Work
    • Distributing and Selling your Work
    • Grants for Writing
  8. Project – Writing a Biographical Story
    • In this final lesson, you will bring together everything that you have been learning to undertake research and construct a first draft of a biographical piece of between 2,000 and 4,000 words.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.