How to Write the First Paragraph of a Biography

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The writing process of a biography begins after you have researched your subject and compiled the information you will share with readers. An engaging first paragraph not only introduces readers to your subject but also provides a glimpse into the biography as a whole. Be concise, accurate and interesting in your introduction in order to capture your reader's attention.

Introduce your subject, including her name and any pseudonyms.

Add the subject's dates of birth and death (if applicable).

Include context, which tells the location where your subject was born, her nationality and ethnicity.

Explain briefly why your subject is important or notable. Give a one- or two-sentence summary of what she accomplished.

Tie in the subject's accomplishments to your reader's experience. Let the reader know why your subject is or was significant to others.

Tips

  • A typical paragraph runs from three to eight sentences. Write enough to introduce your subject. Expand on each piece of information that you include as you continue to write the biography.
  • While a biography is a work of nonfiction, that does not mean that it cannot be entertaining. Your tone can take the reader on a journey of a life that was marked by humor, despair, triumphs or struggles. Be creative in your descriptions and your biography will read like an engaging, true story.