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Post #3's suggestion of beginning with a strong statement that highlights the apex of a person's life or sums up its importance is an excellent way to begin. For instance, if writing about Charles Darwin, the writer could begin with a statement about the tremendous impact Darwin had upon the thinking of his time. For instance,
An English naturalist, Charles Darwin propounded the scientific theory of natural selection that altered the thinking of millions.
The conclusion is simply a summing up of the most important points with a clincher. For example:
Indeed, Darwin set in motion new ways of thinking about existence.
You can begin with a philosophical statement, or a catchy beginning. Even though David Copperfield is not an actual biography, I have always liked the way it begins.
Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else,these pages must show.
I like this because it draws the reader in before starting the "I was born at .." part.
I would not start with "Person X was born in..." Instead, I would start with something that sums up the most important aspect of the life of the person you are writing about. I would then to on to give a bit of background on the person's life. Then I'd pay most attention to the part of the person's life that is historically significant.
Also, what are important elements of a biography?
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