Biography, Memoirs, or Autobiography?

Biography, Memoirs, or Autobiography?

Biography, Memoirs, or Autobiography? Understand the difference between these “Books of Memories.”

How to write a biography

Many people seek our help or contact iSpirit Publishing to write a book about a life story and randomly use the words biography and Autobiography. They use these words as if the expressions mean the same thing – which is not valid. Therefore, we write this text to clarify the difference between the three style definitions.

About Biography

A biography is the life story of one person that someone else writes. It is common for biographies to be the work of art from the so-called biographers, journalists, historians, or writers in general who specialize in writing real stories.

These works are written through searches of documents, images, and files, in addition to interviews. The author delves thoroughly into the subject’s life (the person whose life is being written) to understand and record it from beginning to end, with as much information as possible.

It is quite common to find biographies of celebrities or famous personalities in the most diverse areas, such as artists, businessmen, politicians, or athletes. Nowadays, we even find Biographies of companies.

However, nothing prevents the writing of the biography of a person who is not famous. In this case, the author needs to be clear about what motivates him to dive into the writing of a particular life story.

Children and grandchildren often look to iSpirit Publishing, for example, to record the life history of parents, grandparents, or family members. Some institutions record the trajectories of their founders to preserve the organization’s memory.

Autobiographies are only useful as the lives you read about and analyze may suggest that you may find helpful in your own journey through life.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Biography: how to write someone else’s life story

Autobiographies and Their Peculiarities

The Autobiography, in turn, as its name suggests, is the writing of the author’s life story, narrated by himself.

In the book The autobiographical pact, the specialist in autobiographical narratives Philippe Lejeune defines Autobiography as follows: “retrospective prose narrative that a real person makes of his own existence, when he focuses on his individual history, in particular, the history of his personality.”

Unlike a biography, where the source of research is documents and reports from other people, it is possible to write an autobiography accessing only one’s own memory. This aspect can be a great challenge for many people.

Personalities and experts in different fields are increasingly writing their autobiographies. The advantage of these authors is that they already have a captive audience. However, there is nothing to prevent anonymous people or people with little notoriety from writing their own stories. In these cases, the interest in writing can build fame as in sharing experiences and learnings lived with others.

Some question or doubt the content written in autobiographies, wondering which author is altering or inventing facts. In this case, it is necessary to rely on the written version, considering that the memory is also flawed and subject to change. Even when writing a biography, for example, it is necessary to rely on the most diverse people’s accounts. The accounts of the writing should be the best possible version of the facts.

The Special Category of Books of memories: The Memoirs

A memoir is the story of specific memories. In the literary genre which the narrator tells the facts of his life. It is typically a genre in the narrative way, as well as the novel and short story. Still, this classification pertains to true stories or even based on facts. It differs from biography because it is not about telling someone’s life but narrating their memories.

This category is quite different from the others, even though we often see it being synonymous with Autobiography. A memoir is not a recollection of all events of your life. Still, it is a short tale of a period, an event, a loving relationship.

A memoir is based on long-term memory. This style of memory Book, the memoir is a precious tool emphasizing what a person can remember.  No doubt that a memoir is a fun and creative way to stay attached to sweet moments. Like a scrapbook, it involves plotting a specific time during your life and, of course, your memories.

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