Conversations: 6/6/2017

{{ Normally, we publish Royalene’s posts on Friday mornings. Last week, we made a clerical error, and will be doubling up for the week. Look for Royalene’s next post on Friday! }}


Developing the Biography

Just a few days ago I sat on a bench with one of my neighbors who—with exuberant animated arm gestures—told me how much she enjoyed the biography she’d just finished reading. Her instant replay of one of the events in that “real” person’s life made me realize (once again) how much we human beings can learn from the journeys experienced by those who have walked this life before us. Even though I’m listening to my husband’s deep sighs (as he wonders where we’ll find room for more books on our shelves) I’ve now ordered several new biographies. “No worries,” said I to Hubby, “these books will inspire me to write better.” I believe your biography selections will inspire you, too.

As I continued my research in biography writing, I came across a blog by Kevin Eikenberry who wrote about why Readers are gobbling up biographies (and autobiographies). His thoughts also tell writers why it is a good idea to be writing them. Here are my paraphrased points of his main thoughts…

  • We Benefit From Seeing Into The Past. In the 1670’s Sir Isaac Newton gave us this memorable quote: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Newton—and every other academic—could not succeed in their careers without reading about the lives (actions and events) of people who had previously achieved various elements they searched to understand.
  • Biographies Give Us Clear Timelines Of Repeat Events. In 1905, George Santayana wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This statement is as true today as it has been throughout human existence. The biography that demonstrates the consequence of actions and choices made by others will at least give us the opportunity to consider different options.
  • The Biographical True Story Is A Tool for Self-discovery. Readers discover ideas and approaches to life through the stories and experiences of others. When biographies are developed with the techniques of fiction writing, many discover that the learning process is often far more satisfying. It is also more lasting and instructs us in behaviors that are things we don’t want to do—ever.
  • Different Perspectives Inspire Us. Step away from your favorite genre or profession and pick up a biography about someone who exists “outside” your way of thinking. Most great innovations come from taking an idea from one situation, discipline or industry and adapting it to another.

Eikenberry makes one more statement that has greatly encouraged me as a writer: “Reading a great biography (or autobiography) can be as exciting as your favorite thriller, provide more valuable and useful [life] lessons…and offer more professional development wisdom than you can likely apply.”

As I work toward being the best writer/author I’m capable of being, I now plan to add—and read—multiple biographies of authors I admire, as well as historic figures like Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Jacobs, Samuel Clemens, Maya Angelou, C.S. Lewis and others. I will listen carefully to their voices hoping to share their wisdom within the pages of my to-be-written manuscripts.

So, how many book concepts are waiting in the wings of your imagination today? Pausing to read a biography or autobiography may just flesh out those ideas for you! Go for IT! Read! Write! Publish. The whole process will bring you great joy! ⚓︎

Kevin Eikenberry


ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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