Caroline Moorehead gave a class on biography at Somerset House.
- Establish your purpose in writing – portrait? forensic examination? a way of telling social history? what can you bring to this particular subject?
- Think through your structure – where do you start and how? where do you end? written in chronological order or by theme? how many chapters?
- Telling the story – will you bring yourself into the narrative?
- What will you call your subject – Mrs Woolf? Virginia? Woolf? how many main characters will you have? how much history? how will you go about bringing your subject to life?
- Sources – are there private papers, letters, diaries? how much original material is there? what else has been written about your subject? what contemporary portraits? newspaper articles? will you do interviews?
|Biography: A Very Short Introduction
|Essay on biography in A Need to Testify
|Works on Paper
|Out of Sheer Rage
|The Journalist and the Murderer
|Giving up the Ghost
|Alain de Botton
|How Proust Can Change Your Life
|A Late Beginning
This masterclass was run in collaboration with the Arvon Foundation. The class was open to writers at all stages, and it was a discussion as much as anything, with people bringing their own ideas, skills and views.