I am very fortunate to have access to writing resources such as PR Daily
and Ragan workshops and conferences. But this year, I’ve also learned about writing and editing from an unlikely source—my son’s fourth-grade teacher.
Helping him with his assignments and reading his handouts has taught me about the eight parts of speech
, traits of good writing
, and how to defeat writer’s block
This week, his assignment is to write a three-paragraph biography about a family member. The handout lists the elements he should include. Though this list is very basic, I find it helpful and will keep it in mind next time I write a brief personality profile or bio. (These types of articles are my least favorite to write. I would never make it as a biographer.)
• full name
• year of birth
• place of birth
• information about the person’s family
• childhood and school life
• early achievements
• hobbies, interests, and activities
• anecdotes/events that affected the person later in life
• physical appearance (including at least two similes)
• describe how the person looks in full detail
• could I pick the person out of a crowd by your description
• describe something they like to do
• describe a goal the person has
readers, do you have any other elements to include in a personality profile or short biography?
Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. She writes about writing at www.impertinentremarks.com.