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Autobiography vs Biography – Main Differences That You Must Know

Autobiography vs Biography

Many of you might relate biography with a novel. But in reality, a biography contains fiction to make it fascinating. The only similarity between a biography and a novel is the storytelling style of writing. Biography always discusses real heroes in a fascinating style. Whereas novels may, or may not contain real stories.

By definition, biography is the story of a person written/composed by someone else. It may be about the contribution of a person who is alive, or someone who has passed away. Mostly, in the aspect of biography, the central character is a famous personality in the remote past, or present. It addresses all major events from the cradle to the grave of a person, or a group. It specifically focuses on life turning points. In a biography, the authors follow a type of natural order with few definite steps. It begins from the childhood of a person, then comes to teenage adventures, and then the story’s completed on that person/group’s death event. Moreover, other phases of life like relationships, success, failure, excellence, achievements, criticism, racism, or appreciation are the major components of the biography.

Almost all types of biographies follow a similar pattern. This is because the major life events in an individual’s life follow a similar sequence. It depends on the author in terms of how beautifully he/she presents the story. What storytelling techniques does he use? Some authors use the flashback technique, whereas others create suspense to heighten the story. No matter what techniques you use to make a biography compelling, it must attract the audience.

As suggested by top assignment writers, for writing a biography, an author can shape his document through any of these types;

  1. Historical Fiction Biography
  2. Prophetic Biography
  3. Academic Biography
  4. Fictionalised Academic Biographies

What is an Autobiography?

Autobiography itself is a life story like biography. By definition, an autobiography is a biography written by the protagonist himself. If we divide the autobiography into constitutes, we will get two words, ‘auto’, and ‘biography’. Auto means ‘on your own’, and biography means ‘describing all major life events’. As a whole, if all life events are described by the person himself, it will become the autobiography.

Autobiographies have special importance in history. This is because in reality, a person’s story in his own words has more impact on the audience. It becomes the first-person story version, winning the audience’s trust. In journalism, autobiographies are the most common ways for investigating an event. Here, reporters explore the sources’ vision, or story for revealing the facts that no one else can know. This is because reading a story in the second, or third person may not be as reliable as it should be.

Autobiographies address several mistakes that may be difficult to cater to within the biographies. There are many scandals where the protagonist disagrees with some life events addressed in biographies. So a safe solution for bibliography associated disagreement problems is that of autobiographies. Sometimes, in biography, authors describe all life events well, but they incorrectly evaluate the events involved. It may inspire the audience, but in reality, it will present a scenario opposite to reality. Hence, autobiography is the ultimate solution for such issues as well.

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Differences Between Biography, And Autobiography:

After discussing biography and autography in detail, it will be better to pick some differences between them. Though their definitions reflect a most prominent difference between the two, which is that of the authorship. Again, in biographies, the author is not the protagonist. In contrast, for autobiographies, the author should necessarily be the protagonist.

  1. Biographies can be authorised, or unauthorised. In other words, it’s not necessary for the authors to get permission before writing a bibliography. Hence, factual mistakes often occur in bibliographies. Yet, autobiography being self-written, doesn’t require authorisation.
  2. Biography contains information gathered from different sources over a period of time. Thus it relates to the aspect of presenting the reader with different points of view. An autobiography, on the other hand, is written by the subject himself. So the writer can present the facts and thoughts in his own way. That’s why it gives the reader a general, narrow, and unbiased perspective.
  3. Within his autobiography, the author uses first-person narratives like me, I, he, she, and many more. This creates a close relationship between the author, and the reader. This is because the reader experiences different aspects of a situation at the time. S, he can describe it well too. Unlike a biography, it is a third party narrative, and is less intimate as well.
  4. A biography’s purpose is to inform the reader about a person, and his life. In contrast, an autobiography is a way to make public the life achievements, and experiences of the narrator.

Similarities Between Autobiographies, And Biographies:

Though autobiographies and biographies have many differences, they have a few things in common as well. These aspects are given as follows;

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Primary purpose

In general, both writing styles have a common purpose. This relates to telling about a person’s life events. So the supposed structure of both of these writing styles is similar too. The sequence of life phases and writing tone is more or less similar. An author can follow an autobiography writing guide for writing a biography as well, and vice versa. Both types are often published in a book format. Moreover, to make an interesting story, suspense, flashback, or emotional approaches are equally important in both.

Notable subject

The criteria for selecting a protagonist are also the same in both types. In autobiographies as well as in biographies, the audience wants to read about famous personalities and their visual identities. The famous personalities may be any of these;

  • A Noble price winner.
  • An Olympic winner.
  • A famous singer, actor, or dancer.
  • An athlete.
  • A business tycoon.
  • A political leader.
  • A writer.

In short, to become a praise-worthy biographer, or auto-biographer, the right selection of a personality is very important. The success of both types of writing depends on two factors. The first one is the writer’s individual writing style, whereas the other one is the selection of personality.

The students, especially those who are studying journalism, should know the differences between these terms as they will be highly useful for them. I hope this article has cleared your perceptions, and any confusions about the aspects of biography, and autobiography.

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