Writing Your Biography 1

Biography Outline Part 1 - Part 1 of notes to help prompt you when writing your biography

- more notes here

Childhood and School Days

  • Where and when were you born?
  • What is your birth date?  
  • Over time, what names have you been given and which name have you chosen to use?
  • Did your mom tell you about the day you were born?
  • What time of the day were you born?
  • The middle of the night, morning, evening?
  • What was the weather like? Were you born during the middle of a blizzard or on a balmy spring day?
  • Describe your mother
  • Describe your father
  • Draw a floor plan of the first house you have a memory of. What are your memories?
  • Did you have brothers or sisters?
  • Where were you in the birth order?
  • What was your relationship with each?
  • Were boys and girls treated differently in your family? How?
  • Where and when did you go to school?  
  • What were your favourite subjects? Why?
  • Who were your favourite teachers? Why?
  • What were your favourite hobbies, sports, amusements, youth groups  as a child, teenager, young adult?
  • What would a typical school day, Saturday, Sunday have been like as a child, teenager, young adult?
  • If you had an after school or summer job, what did you do?
  • What did you like about it? Dislike about it?
  • What was the funniest thing that happened on the job?
  • How much did you earn?
  • What would that buy in terms of candy bars, movie tickets, toys, or other things you were likely to buy at that age?
  • Where did you live as a child, teenager, young adult?
  • What was the house like?
  • What was the town like?
  • What do you remember liking and disliking about it?
  • As an adult, why did you pick the places you picked to live (Specific apartments, neighbourhoods, cities, regions)?
  • What was the most exciting thing that happened to you as a child, teenager, young adult?  
  • How did you feel on the day your first (second, third) child was born?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What Did You Collect?
  • Do you have any collections?
  • What got you started in it?
  • What was your first item?
  • What is your most prized item?
  • Did you collect anything when you were young?

Romance, Work, Play and History
  • How did you and your spouse meet?
  • What attracted you to each other?
  • Do you have a favourite incident from your courtship that was either funny in the ordinary way or embarrassing then, funny now?
  • What was your wedding like?
  • Where and when was it held?
  • Was this typical for the time?
  • Did you dance?
  • What did people wear?
  • Military service - When and where did you serve?
  • Why did you choose it, if you had a choice?
  • What was the most exciting thing that happened to you in the service? Funniest? Most frightening?
  • Occupation - what did you do?
  • Why did you choose it as a career?
  • What did you especially like and dislike about the job(s)?
  • What are some of the things your are proudest of?
  • How much did you make to start with at your first full-time job?
  • How much was that in terms of a "starter" home, or a good second-hand car?
  • What did you do outside of your job as an adult?
  • Why do you do it?
  • What did you like or dislike about it? Funny, proud, sad events?
  • What historical events have you witnessed in person?
  • How did you and your friends and neighbors react to them?

Religion, Children, History again
  • Religion - Why did you choose your particular denomination, if you did?
  • What do you like about it? Dislike?
  • What was the funniest thing that ever happened to you in church?
  • What was the most awe-inspiring thing?
  • What was your proudest moment?
  • What was your saddest moment?
  • Children - where and when were they born?
  • How did you pick their names?
  • What were they like as infants and toddlers?
  • Larger events, personal perspective - what do you notice is the biggest (three biggest, five biggest) change in the world today from the world you knew as a child?
  • What one, three, five things can you remember being invented in your life which people today take for granted?

Eating - Holidays and Hard Times
  • How did you celebrate Easter, Christmas?
  • What did you eat, and how did you cook it?
  • How did you decorate the house?
  • Did you do anything special for breakfast, lunch or dinner on your birthday?
  • Did your family celebrate any holidays that were special to your religious or ethnic heritage?
  • If, for instance, you are Jewish, Muslim or Sikh, how did you feel when Christmas rolled around?
  • How did your parents help you cope?
  • What was your favourite meal, apart from the holidays?

The Unknown Side
  • What have you done that no one would guess you'd done, to look at you?

Ten More Questions
  • Tell about the house you lived in, as a child.
  • Where was it located?
  • How many rooms did it have?
  • What were the sleeping arrangements?
  • Who was in charge of putting the logs on in the morning?
  • Did your mother do all the cooking or did the kids help?
  • How were chores assigned? By age? By gender?
  • Tell about the town you lived in.
  • What was it like?
  • Did you know everyone in town?
  • Did your parents perform any civic duties besides voting?
  • Did they attend city council meetings, hold any office etc. ?
  • Where did you have to go to get your mail?
  • Where did you have to go to get the staples you needed for living?
  • Did you buy clothes or did Grandma make them for you?
  • Tell about the first home you lived in after your marriage.
  • Where was it and what was it like?
  • What did you like the most about it?
  • What did you like the least?
  • Tell about your travels.
  • What did you get in trouble for the most when you were a child?
  • How were you punished?
  • Did you feel that Grandma or Grandpa had any favourite children?
  • Least favourites? Or did you feel that you were all treated equally?
  • What was the one thing that you learned as a child that you carry with you to this day?
  • What is the biggest problem facing our country today?
  • What time of the day do you like the best and why?
Other topics that you can write about yourself ... or the person you are writing about:
  • What scares you?
  • Did you have a Plan for life? What was it?
  • What places you have enjoyed visiting.
  • What things have you done that you previously thought you could never do.
  • Who are the people you most admire.
  • What are your favourite books.
  • What are your favourite movies.
  • What are your favourite songs.
  • What are your top five short term goals.
  • What are your top five long term goals.
  • Nobody knows that I . . .
  • The biggest lie I’ve ever told was . . .
  • Is there anything you feel guilty about? What is it? 
  • Is there anything you need to be forgiven for? What is it?
  • What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?
  • What’s your secret desire?
  • What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done?
  • The most terrifying moment of my life was . . .
  • The most fun I’ve ever had . . .
  • The most surprised I’ve ever been . . .
  • The most disappointed I’ve ever been . . .
  • What are you looking forward to the most?
  • What things can’t you go without?
  • What are your favourite book characters.
  • What are your favourite things to wear.
  • What things are important to you in a relationship.
  • If you had to evacuate your home because of a natural disaster, what three things would you take with you?
  • What are your pet peeves.
  • What things you’d do if you weren’t so afraid.
  • What are your favourite TV shows.
  • What are your favourite Activities
  • What are your favourite Restaurants
  • Who are your favourite People
  • What are your favourite Foods
  • What are your favourite Games
  • What are your favourite Drinks/Beverages
  • What are your favourite Paintings
  • Who are your favourite Writers
  • My saddest memory is  . . .
  • Some of the things that make me happy are . . .
  • How do you deal with anger?
  • My favourite Sunday ritual . . .
  • What holiday traditions do you most look forward to . . .
  • Things I always did with my dad when I was small were. . .
  • Things I always did with my mom when I was little were . . .
  • If you could have dinner with anyone currently alive, who would it be?
  • If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?
  • If you could change one thing about your present life, what would it be?
  • If you could live anywhere you wanted, where would you live?
  • If you could go back in time and change one things from your past, what would it be?
  • What was your favourite toy?
  • Did you ever get lost? If so write about it
  • Who was your best friend in primary school?
  • Did you ever run away from home? If so write about it
  • As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What was your favourite subject in school?
  • Who was your favourite teacher?
  • What’s your first memory?
  • What was your favourite cartoon?
  • What book did you read over and over again as a child?
  • What is your most vivid memory of the kitchen in your childhood?
  • As a child, who was your favourite relative?
  • Write about your first dance.
  • Write about your first crush.
  • Write about your first week in College or High School.
  • Write about your first job.
  • Write about the first apartment you ever rented.
  • When did you feel truly independent for the first time? Discuss
  • What would you do if money were no object?
  • What would you ask for if a genie granted you three wishes?
  • What’s your wildest dream?
  • What grand adventure do you wish you could go on?
  • If you could become an expert in any subject or activity, what would it be?
  • What would your perfect day be like?
  • What makes you unique?
  • How do you stand out from the crowd?
  • What are your best character traits?
  • What are you really good at?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would your best friend describe you?
  • What character traits do you need to work on?
  • What are some of your idiosyncrasies?
  • How do you indulge yourself? 
  • Do you have any famous or high profile family members?
  • Describe an event that changed your life forever
  • Describe someone who is a hero to you and explain why. 
  • Write about a time in your life when you struggled with a choice and made the right one. 
  • What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date and why? 
  • If you could go somewhere where you've never gone before, where would you go and why? 
  • What's, if anything, would you be willing to fight or even die for?  Explain your answer. 
  • If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?  Why would you make this change? 
  • Write about a time you performed in front of an audience. 
  • Write about a difficult decision you had to make. 
  • Write about learning to skate, to ride a bike, to climb a tree, or to turn a cart wheel. 
  • What was it like to spend your first night away from home? 
  • Write about a disappointment. 
  • Did you ever win or lose a contest? Tell the story about what happened. 
  • Write about something you desperately wanted when you were younger. 
  • Did you ever forget something really important?  What happened as a result? 
  • Write about an experience in a hospital. 
  • Were you ever accused of something that you didn't do?
  • Write about a disastrous trip or vacation.
  • Were you ever in a fire, flood tornado, or hurricane? 
  • Describe the best concert you ever attended. 
  • Did you ever meet a famous person? 
  • Describe learning something from a friend. 
  • Write about the funniest thing that ever happened to you. 
  • What would you pack in your suitcase if you could not go home again? 
  • If you could change one law, what law would it be and how would you change it? 
  • What 3 items would you take to a desert island and why?
  • If you had three wishes, what would they be? 
  • Write about two things that your family has taught you. 
  • Name one thing you like about yourself and why you like it. 
  • Name and describe a teacher who made a difference in your life.  What did that teacher do that was so special? 
  • Describe the one thing that gives you the most comfort. 
  • Describe the most difficult thing about being your age.
  • Who is the most important role model in your life? 
  • If you could study one subject in school that wasn't offered, what would it be and why? 
  • If you had a chance to live anywhere you could, where would it be and why? 
  • Describe your dream house. 
  • What is your definition of success? 
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