William Hammett, Independent Ghostwriter

Biography

Memoir and biography are kissing cousins, but they're not exactly the same thing. Surprisingly, many memoir writers who advertise on the internet don't know the difference--the fine line that separates the two.

Memoir is usually a first person account, meaning that it's written by the author whose name is on the cover (although ghostwriters naturally write many of these books). Memoir is also usually confined to a particular event or timeframe of an individual's life.

A biography is written in the third grammatical person, and more often than not, the book deals with an entire lifetime. Autobiography is almost always written in first person, but it nevertheless deals with the entire scope of someone's life.

Biographers write about famous historical figures, inventors, politicians, and just about anyone with wide name recognition who has accomplished something noteworthy in life.

Are the two terms sometimes used interchangeably? Of course, and yet they're a little bit different from each other.

You may read about memoir at Your Life Story.

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