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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Beyond the Book: Biographies

In my opinion writing a good biography is lots harder than writing a book. I remember the first time I had to write a biography. It was a basic, no nonsense, to the point document. It went something like this:

Elaine Cantrell is a high school social studies teacher in South Carolina where she lives with her husband, son Scott and his family, which includes grandson Simon plus two dogs and a cat who rules the roost.

Not a lot of information, is it? Well, I wasn’t satisfied with it so I came up with another try which goes like this:

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina where she obtained a Master’s degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University. She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa an international honorary society for women educators. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America. Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest.  When she’s not writing or teaching, she enjoys movies, quilting, reading, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.  

Okay, I like that a little better. It has a little bit more information in it, but I don’t think this one is any good either. I think the purpose of a biography is to sell yourself to the readers so that they’ll try your book, and I don’t think I did. 

Here’s the third try. In this one I tried to make myself sound more exciting and energetic. It went like this:

Born and raised in South Carolina, I hold a Master’s degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and am a member of Romance Writers of American and Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators. I’ve been married for thirty five years to my college sweetheart. We have two sons-a physicist and a fraud investigator. They’ve given us three wonderful grandchildren-one girl and two boys.  We also have a sweet calico kitty, and a devoted little black and white dog. 

I’ve been writing since 2001 when my son asked me to proofread a book he’d written.  I figured if he could write a book, so could I.  My first published novel, A New Leaf, was the winner of the 2003 Timeless Love contest.  If I wasn’t sold on writing before, that did it.  I’ve been writing ever since and don’t have any plans to stop.  Frankly, I don’t think I could even if I wanted to.  Writing is a strange compulsion that drives me to spend long hours in front of a keyboard when I could be doing important things like napping or eating chocolate.  My house isn’t dusted as often, I rarely cook, and who cares if the laundry got done or not.  Yeah, no doubt about it, I’m addicted.

I don’t like that one either, but like I said writing a good biography is hard. Do you like one better than the others? If so, which one.


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