Monday, July 23rd I read the post to Kate Messner’s TeachersWrite blog and met biography author, Sarah Albee. Sarah’s advise to writers is to jot down ALL you know about the topic. Then make choices about what to include. It felt freeing to hear that I don’t have to include every single detail. She also mentioned how she likes to include details about what people wear. This made me think for me, I’d like to include details about buildings because I like architecture.
“Your Assignment: Choose someone to write about. It might be a famous person, a little-known person from history whose story you want to tell, or yourself. Write down 8-10 facts about this person’s life. Birth, family background, all that basic stuff, sure. But include at least a few pivotal moments in the person’s life—triumphs, disappointments, adversities that shaped him or her (or you).
And now, write the first two or three sentences of this biography—but make some choices before you start writing. Where will you start your story? Which facts from your list really sum the person up and give your reader a sense of who they are? What voice will you use? How will you hook your reader? Share a bit of what you wrote in the comments if you’d like!
Generating Ideas: I just returned from a trip to Louisville, Kentucky with my mom so she could visit with her cousins. Her one cousin took us to see the historical marker set at his grandfather’s brother’s house.
I decided I’d pick ROSCOE GOOSE as my person. Here’s the beginning of my assignment, my biography of ROSCOE GOOSE, the winning jockey of the 1913 Kentucky Derby.
First, using the historical marker and some online research, I made these notes:
My opening page:
“This is it, Donerail.” Roscoe said as he patted the left-side of his black colt’s mane. “They think if we race here 91 times, we will win just one of those races. How about we win this first one to show them they are right.” Then Roscoe raised his eyes to see the Twin Spires pointing straight to heaven. Today was the 39th running of the Kentucky Derby and Roscoe and Donerail were about to have the race of their lives.