The three primary formats used to tell the life story include autobiography, biography and memoir. Many think that the two writing forms are one and the same thing, but there are noticeable differences between the two.
The article is about the key difference between a biography and an autobiography. It discusses two significant differences: how much control the author has in deciding what to include and whether it’s written by someone who knows they will die soon.
For anyone who has ever wondered what the difference is between a biography and an autobiography, Penn Book will provide readers with a detailed explanation of the different types of Biography Vs Autobiography that exist along with their benefits/drawbacks to ensure you’re writing within the correct scope.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is autobiography?
- 2 What is biography?
- 3 Key Differences Between Autobiography vs Biography
- 4 Similar Elements in Autobiography vs Biography
- 5 FAQs about Autobiography vs Biography
- 6 Conclusion
What is autobiography?
An autobiography tells the story of a person’s life written by that person. Autobiographies are the first person written because the author is the main character.
An autobiography describes the author’s own life experiences and accomplishments. Since an autobiography is a life story, autobiographies are usually written later in the life of the subject.
These autobiographies tend to start in early childhood and go through their entire life chronologically. An autobiography usually includes information about the author’s life such as birth and upbringing, educational background, work history, and life experiences, and achievements.
An autobiography is more subjective than a biography. This is because autobiographies are written by the subject and are based on their memories of the specific situation. It can also be biased. Autobiography offers access to your personal thoughts and feelings.
Here are some examples of autobiographies that are well-known:
- The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson
The following are the key trails of an autobiography.
- Written in the first person POV of the author’s life. Sometimes with the assistance of a collaborator
- Formal and objectively more formal than memoirs but subjectively more than biographies
- Wide in scope and timeline, often covering the author’s entire lifetime up to the present
- More on facts than emotions
- This requires more research and fact-checking than memoirs, but less so than biographies.
What is biography?
Like an autobiography, a biography tells a person’s life story. A biography (also known as a bio) is a non-fiction piece that gives an accurate account of a person’s life written by someone else. A biography is different from an autobiography in that the subject is not the author. Usually, people write biographies about historical figures. You can write them with or without the author’s permission.
Biographies provide details of the key events about the subject’s life, including information about their education, career, and personal relationships. Biographers draw on various sources for research, such as letters, diaries and photographs, interviews, letters, newspapers, and reference books. A biography is typically written in written form. However, it can also be created in music composition or film.
Authors organize events in chronological order. However, they can also classify by themes, specific achievements, or topics depending on the book’s main idea.
Here are some examples of famous biographies:
- His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis
- Einstein: The Life and Times by Ronald William Clark
- Princess Diana – A Biography of The Princess of Wales by Drew L. Crichton
- Churchill: A Life by Martin Gilbert: Through years of in-depth research, Gilbert offers a detailed and honest look into the man’s life who led Britain to victory in the Second World War.
The following are the key trails of a biography.
- A story about another person’s life, usually a celebrity or public figure, is told from the third person point of view.
- Formal and more objective than autobiographies and memoirs
- Wide in scope and timeline, often covering all aspects of the subject’s life until the present
- Only the facts are important
- To ensure accuracy, it is necessary to do thorough research and fact checking.
Key Differences Between Autobiography vs Biography
There are many similarities between autobiographies and biographies. However, there are also some notable differences between biography and autobiography although both describe the person’s character sketch and their life story.
Authorship: This is the main difference between an autobiography and a biography. The subject writes an autobiography of the book. A biography is written by someone else than the subject.
Point of view: Autobiographies are usually written from the author’s point of view (I.e., me. my) since they are about his own experiences. Because the author is sharing someone else’s experience, a biography is usually written in the third person (she/her, his, etc.)
Authorized vs. Unauthorized: A biography can be authorized and unauthorized. An autobiography, however, is always authorized.
Graduation of objectivity: A biography is more objective than an autobiography. Writers of biography often gather information by conducting journalistic research. This includes reviewing historical records and interviewing the subject. The content of an autobiography is usually based on the author’s memories and not input from others.
While biography is intended to inform readers, the purpose of an autobiography or biographical essay is to share the author’s life experiences.
An autobiography uses the first person narrative, such as “I, me,” to establish an intimate connection with readers. On the other hand, a biography is written in the third person, providing a less intimate connection.
Similar Elements in Autobiography vs Biography
Some elements are shared between autobiographies and biographies.
Primary purpose: Both types of books are meant to provide an account of someone’s life.
Nonfiction: Biographies and autobiographies are both nonfiction works that depict events in a person’s life.
Notable subjects: People whose stories are told through biography or autobiography tend to be well known for their achievements, such as athletes, politicians, business leaders, and other high profile people.
FAQs about Autobiography vs Biography
What are the 4 types of biography?
A biography is a specialized form of life history. A biography is a narrative of events that is based on the life of one person. There are four types of biography: academic, fictional, historical, and prophetic.
How long is an autobiography?
Although there are no set length guidelines for autobiographies, a good guideline is 200-400 pages. This will ensure that your book is in line with readers’ expectations and help you get your book published traditionally or market your self-published work.
Does an autobiography have chapters?
A biography’s contents page will provide a good indication of the structure used by the author. Biographies usually have approximately 68,000 words long chapters, but there aren’t any hard and fast rules. A few chapters can add variety to the book’s pace.
How long is a short autobiography?
Nonfiction books usually have between 5 to 20 chapters. If you have less than five chapters, your book may run out of space or contain too many ideas.
Biographies are usually more objective and unbiased than autobiographies because they rely on outside sources to inform their writing. Autobiography can be rawer as it relies solely on the author for information about themselves.
Both types have their advantages and disadvantages in their own way depending on what you’re researching or interested in reading about, so we hope this article has been helpful!