At college, students of different faculties are often required to create biographical papers. Why? On the one hand, they develop the skills of research making and data analysis; on the other hand, they help you get better at the so-called ‘soft skills’ that are much sought after by prestigious employers and well established companies. If the person whose life you are about to describe is still alive, you also get a wonderful chance to get in touch with the hero via email or social media, shaping your own unique experience and this person’s image.
A biosketch – shortly for a biographical sketch – is a brief account of the life of a famous person that is focused on their core contributions and the basic information about this individual. This type of academic writing is not as widespread as essays or reviews but in many subjects, it allows students to delve deeper into the history of a specific time period or event. Besides, it might be handy when you face the task to write an autobiographical sketch at some point in your life.
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But today we will dwell on useful pieces of advice to use when writing a biographical sketch with ease and delight. Follow the checklist below and use it for your benefit!
Tip #1. Be driven with a specific purpose.
Let us make this clear: at college, you will, probably, never be asked to write a full description of some famous people, first of all, because it is impossible. What your professors want to encourage in you is to outline the most significant places in the chosen timeline and to maintaine a clear focus on one or two aspects. If you are successful in finding facts and sources that are fit to contribute to the description of a person or a few of their traits of character, consider it a victory.
Yet, stop yourself every time when you catch yourself drifting away from the core idea or mentioning facts just because you found them. Instead, particularly striking things about the person can be used in a sketch as a ‘hook’ (see tip #3 on the list).
Tip #2. Conduct profound research.
Imagine how cool your sketch will be if you go for more than it is written in Wikipedia. By consulting different sources (credible, of course), comparing and contrasting the data, reading through the historical archives, taking information from both scientific and fiction books, you will collect a huge puzzle picture made of different aspects of a person’s life and see the details from multiple angles. While a sketch should be concentrated on one area of a person’s life, try to arrange every other piece of information that you found around the core idea and supply it with the related proofs.
Tip #3. Make sure you capture the readers’ attention.
We can’t but agree with the students who say that starting a biographical sketch by introducing an individual’s name, date, and place of birth, and background is pretty boring. To replace such a predictable introduction, you could start it with an interesting fact that no one of the readers has not thought about. Mention, for instance, a big event that happened in the year this person was born, relate periods in the person’s life to other famous people who were influenced by them, include surprising information about the family, etc. The trick of using contrasts of the times of poverty and abundance, war and peace, illiteracy and enlightenment always works so make sure you have something to impress the audience.
Tip #4. Use narratives.
Every nice sketch has got a specific feature that makes the reader like it. This feature is a good story. A story told about the obstacles and rewards on the way to recognition, about the struggles for love, fighting back the rights of one person of a whole nation. Storytelling is a valuable instrument if you want to make your sketch more visual, vivid, and animated. Exciting plots is what makes you move the heart of a person reading the story and helps create the special atmosphere of the described age, with its hardships and joys, the good and the bad of that age.
Another tip inside of this tip is to start from the exciting moment. You do not necessarily have to go from the birth of this person to their death. Pick the ‘climax moment’ in the biography and let the story unfold from this moment – in such a way, the reader’s attention will be hard to move away during the reading of the whole paper.
As you can see, writing a biographical sketch is not too difficult. If you really make it a goal, it turns out an interesting and skill-developing activity. So, don’t hesitate and have your first tries – we’re sure, they will be successful!