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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn how to write a Biography with ACS Distance Education.

  • What is the difference between an autobiography and a memoir?
  • Develop ideas about who and what to choose for a biography.
  • Learn about the processes of writing a biography.
  • Understand about researching for a biography and the types of evidence touse.
  • Learn about editing, publishing, and marketing a biography.
  • Write a biographical piece as part of your studies.




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Study Biographical Writing and learn about who and what to write about. 

  • Learn about developing ideas, planning, and researching for a biography.
  • Learn about different types of research, where to start gathering information, and how to apply the art of fiction to the craft of a biography.
  • Study the editing and marketing processes.
  • In the final lesson, you will write a 2000 - 4000 word biography and receive individual feedback from our academic staff. 

Biographical writing can be large-scale, and cover a person's whole life, or it can be small scale, and cover only a short period, from a week to a few years. Sometimes the subject's life is the entire focus. Other times, it's his or her work, or their life in the context of a particular philosophy or achievement.

A biography is neither a diary nor a journal. Although biographies are writing about life, it is more useful to think of them as a collection of writings about life events. What are the key events? How do these tie around a central theme or purpose?

Course Duration: 100 hours.

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.

Lessons: The course comprises 8 lessons as detailed, below.

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.
  • Researching a Biography.

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 Biography

  • 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.

A the end of each lesson there is an assignment for students to complete and submit to the school. This will be marked by the school's tutors and returned to the student with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Biographies are hugely popular, whether you are a film star, have been resident in the White House, or are a war veteran, biographies provide a rich source of reading for many. They can provide information about eras, experiences, and about the world.

  • Do you have an interest in people and in their experiences?
  • Would you like to write about events and experiences that are an inspiration to others?
  • Study Biographical Writing with ACS and learn about the processes of writing - from determining the initial concepts, through planning, and obtaining evidence, through to editing, publishing, and marketing a work.


If you have any questions, please do get in touch with us - connect with our expert tutors, use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE.

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Meet some of our academics

John MasonMr Mason has worked 45+ years in Writing, Education, Horticulture and Recreation. His experience in both public & private sectors is extensive; particularly across Australia and England.
Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.
Jade SciasciaBiologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager. Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.
Tracey Jones (writing)Tracey has enjoyed creative writing since she was a child. She has had several short stories published and a novella. She is also a keen writer of children's stories and poetry. She has also written many academic and non-fiction books in the fields of psychology, sociology, child development, writing and marketing.

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Professional WritingProfessional writing is any writing that you are being paid for. It can include fiction writing, a best-selling book, articles in a magazine, articles in a newspaper, blogs for companies, technical manuals or procedure manuals, copy for catalogues, newsletters, text books and other academic material and so on.