How to Outline to Write a Biography

Writing a biography requires you to be organized, informed and prepared. The writing process of a biography can take years to complete, based on how in-depth your book is and whether you have direct contact with the individual who is the subject of your biography. One of the easiest ways to keep the biography process smooth involves creating and using an outline that will help to organize information, structure the writing process and keep you on track with the research you need to do.

Writing a biography requires you to be organized and prepared.
Writing a biography requires you to be organized and prepared. (tetmc/iStock/Getty Images)
Step 1:

Gather all of your information together as a Word document or set of notes before writing your outline so that you can refer to it. The more basic information you have, the easier it will be to see what details need to be filled in; it will also simplify the structure of your outline.

Gather all your information in a Word document.
Gather all your information in a Word document. (Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)
Step 2:

Label your information according to basic theses and sections of your writing, including birth, death, significant events such as career events and marriage, children and other events you want to focus on.

Label your information by themes.
Label your information by themes. (Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)
Step 3:

Divide your information into its relevant sections. A basic outline includes the following: numbered sections that use Roman numerals, which denote major sections of the writing; subsections that use regular numerals and are divided into smaller detailed sections.

Divide your information into sections.
Divide your information into sections. (Tetiana Vitsenko/iStock/Getty Images)
Step 4:

Include all of the information you have on your subject. Keep your outline concise. Write information in one-sentence sections.

Keep your outline concise.
Keep your outline concise. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)
Step 5:

Structure your outline so that it is in the order in which your book will be written. This could be a linear or topical outline, but it should refer to the structure your book will take for easy reference during the writing process.

Structure your outline so that it is in the proper order.
Structure your outline so that it is in the proper order. (moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)
Step 6:

Make distinctions between major sections of your book and smaller details. Divide all detailed information into organized sections and subsections according to the structure of the outline.

Make distinctions between major sections of your book and smaller details.
Make distinctions between major sections of your book and smaller details. (crossstudio/iStock/Getty Images)
Step 7:

Make notes of what pieces of information need more detail or are missing so that you can do further research on them as you begin writing.

Make notes on missing information.
Make notes on missing information. (serezniy/iStock/Getty Images)
Step 8:

Add more information as necessary to your outline. Change the structure of your outline to reflect the structure of your book.

Add more information as necessary to your outline.
Add more information as necessary to your outline. (Jacob Wackerhausen/iStock/Getty Images)
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