Homemade Biography: How to Collect, Record, and Tell the Life Story of Someone You Love

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Celebrities and famous figures are universally viewed as interesting and will have a wider audience. Someone unknown will be a tougher sell because you have to convince people to care about this unknown entity. That said, if you know an ordinary person with an extraordinary story that could strike a chord with people, don't be afraid to write about it.

How to Narrate Your Life Story

Just be sure to narrowly focus the biography on those striking components that will connect with the readers. Once you've chosen your subject, you'll likely need their permission. This isn't always a prerequisite; plenty of "unauthorized" biographies have been written about celebrities based on information available in the public domain.

However, a biography is usually far more compelling if the subject is willing to talk to you. Also, if you don't get permission and you still wish to publish, you'll have to make sure you don't print anything untrue that could be viewed as slander or libel. If you hurt someone's reputation through your unauthorized biography, you could be setting yourself up for a lawsuit. Before you've gathered all your intel, you need to decide what you're going to do with it. Generally, it's best to start with an outline so you know what details are going to be included in the biography.

Determine the main point, or thesis, and then outline how each section or chapter tells a part of the story to support that thesis. Do you want to cover a person's entire life, or focus on one significant aspect of their story? A timeline of their life will help you paint a picture and decide what to highlight. This will also help you decide if you want to present your biography in chronological order, by major life events, or in some other fashion.

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As you conduct your research, the ultimate primary source is the subject themselves. But, whether they're living or dead, that may not always be an option. Thankfully, primary sources are more than just the subject of your biography. They also include the subject's personal writings, those with firsthand information about the subject, original historical or legal documents, statistical records, and audio or video recordings.

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A piece of writing created during the time of an important event, such as a news article, may also be considered a primary source. Secondary sources will be helpful to your research too, if you choose wisely. A secondary source is something created by someone who didn't know the subject directly or didn't witness an event with their own eyes. A secondary source was created at a later time, based on primary or secondary sources, such as a review, analysis or documentary.

Pat McNees - Telling Your Story

When using these sources, be sure to delve into the writer's credibility in order to ascertain whether they can be trusted. Since a biography is a non-fictional account of a person's life, starting at the beginning will probably set the rest of the story up nicely. That said, your audience may not want the details of your subject's happy-yet-uneventful childhood when a heroic or evil deed is on the horizon.

So, the manner in which you organize your ideas should be determined before you really dig in. By the time her first album came out, Del Rey had decided she wanted to work under a new name. Del Rey got back the rights to her first album so as to avoid confusion with her new name.

She also dyed her blonde hair and adopted a more retro, glamorized image — at one point describing herself as "gangster Nancy Sinatra.


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The news that Del Rey had signed with the label Interscope made some wonder if "Video Games" was a marketing ploy and not a video she'd created herself. There was also speculation that her father was a millionaire who'd bankrolled her Del Rey has said her family was never wealthy.

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In Del Rey appeared on Saturday Night Live and was criticized for looking nervous and singing hesitantly. However, her first studio album was still a success, as were subsequent releases. Success brought Del Rey new opportunities. In she made a short film called Tropico , as well as a Tropico EP. She attended the Met Gala alongside Jared Leto while sporting a halo with wings and a dress with knives sticking out of a gold heart.


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  • Yet success also has its pitfalls: Del Rey's house was broken into, and in February , a man was arrested at a concert in Orlando, Florida, for plotting to kidnap the singer. And Del Rey's computer was hacked in , exposing personal information and unreleased songs, many of which have spread online. The song "Ultraviolence" featured the controversial line "He hit me and it felt like a kiss"; in , Del Rey said she's no longer comfortable with the lyric.

    Radiohead asked for some of the publishing rights to Del Rey's "Get Free" due to similarities to their hit song "Creep.

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    We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! I didn't particularly want to be there. It was a choice I made after Petersburg Times on The Heartless Stone. The Heartless Stone leads reader and author alike to an ever-evolving story--as troubling as it is fascinating--of a gem that tells as much about us as it does about a dirty rock. Lives up in every way to the power of its almost magical subject. A gem. Zoellner's sharp, observant descriptions of people and places will sensitize readers to the wider processes of monopoly, smuggling, and war, all of which lurk in the background when a suitor buys a ring for his beloved.

    He has worked as a contributing editor to Men's Health magazine and as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle.