I need to write an essay about Author Biography. Can you please help me out?This essay is a research biography of a fiction author or poet. Begin by choosing any author of fiction, drama, or...

I need to write an essay about Author Biography. Can you please help me out?

This essay is a research biography of a fiction author or poet. Begin by choosing any author of fiction, drama, or poetry. Research the author; if you know everything about the author, there is no need to conduct research. This IS a research assignment. Access approximately 3 (but no more than 5) reliable outside sources from which you will gather information about your author or poet. Try using the journals located on the San Jac Library webpage contained in the databases. ***PLEASE, DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA. ****It is very important to remember to use MLA format rules to cite all your sources in the text of the essay as well as on your works cited page. Incorrectly cited sources or uncited sources will be considered plagiarism and significant points will be deducted. ***Please click the blue button to your left labeled "Writing Rubric" to see my essay grading guidelines. This essay must be between 3 and 4 pages in length. Please, do not exceed 4 pages. 

Expert Answers
janetlong eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Writing a good biographical essay on a literary figure requires:

1. The ability to follow instructions closely

2. Sufficient research to produce the richness and accuracy your professor expects

3. A well formed structure

4. A grasp of english language spelling, punctuation, and grammar

Don't worry if you are struggling to learn essay writing. It is one of the hardest things to truly master, and every essay you write will make you a better writer. The object of the assignment described is to get you into the library, where a wealth of information resources resides. Librarians know much more than your laptop does about where to find the best information, and they will help you find it. Aside from books, which can be a surprisingly rich source of hard to find information, libraries also own subscriptions to vast databases that contain huge amounts of data and published materials not available for free on the web. Assuming you've begun your research with eNotes, find at least three or four other sources and cross check the information. Frequently, for any number of reasons, sources offer conflicting birth and death information, spellings of names, literary titles and publication dates. Do your detective work and include only the most reliable information in your essay.

In a biographical essay you are going to focus on the achievement for which the subject is known--in this case, literature. So in addition to the vital data (where and when the person was born, lived, worked, died) you will want to include milestones in the person's life, such as the first pubished work, first major work, and important awards. Your professor will also want to know how life events affected the subject's works. For example, Charles Dickens worked in a blacking factory as a child and later used the experience as material in David Copperfield. You will want to place the author's works in context with his or her contemporaries, give a brief description of the major literary works, and discuss their influence over time.

Although it may seem like a lot to tackle at the start, this is actually a fairly short assignment. Construct an outline to help you lay out your ideas. Do not make the mistake of leaving out details that may seem obvious; the object of the assignment is not to enlighten your professor but to write a detailed and accurate biography. Once you have all your information in note form, the problem will be how to include everything in only four pages.

Writing is the best way to master the mechanics of written language. Spellcheck is only the most basic helper (and it is often wrong!), but it helps gets the first draft done with a minimum of spelling errors. Even if you are pretty confident about your writing skills, it is usually helpful to have a second pair of eyes look over your work; most people stumble over grammar rules or overlook misplaced punctuation marks. If you need extra help, your college will offer resources to assist you.