He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

Crafting Your Author Bio: 5 Tips for New Writers

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Guest post by Lizeth De La Luz 

Congratulations! You are ready to hit a new milestone in your writing career: crafting your author bio.

Whether you are submitting to a magazine, contest, agent, publishing house, or finishing up you About You section on your website, your author bio will always be one of the most important things you will create.


Because your author bio is an introduction to YOU, the writer.

It tells a story. It shows pieces of you, your accomplishments, your preparations, your journey, and it is ultimately a subtle conversation you have with your readers before they read your work.

Although this might sound like a lot of pressure and to be quite honest, at first it is, these 5 tips will help ease you into crafting your author bio (& hopefully will help you through each revision as you grow into your writer self).

Okay, here’s a mini overview of what we’ll cover:

  • Prepping your writing space
  • Creating a checklist
  • Staying organized
  • Drawing from Inspiration
  • Creating a formula

Note: This guide is here for you to work along side it so we are going to go over each step together (like a worksheet!)

Ready? Okay, let’s start the crafting process.

1. Gather the Details

Pull out a piece of paper or open a new document. Now, write down this list plus any other things you came up with:

  • Name
  • Location
  • Education
  • Writing History
  • Relevant Work Experience
  • Publications
  • A Fun Fact

Your bio is essentially a mini resume but with a TWIST. It should be tailored to writing related endeavors plus a little more of you. Note that your list doesn’t have to be in this order.

Name { Name you go by / pen name

Will you be using your first and last name or perhaps a pseudonym? First name, first and last, or first/middle/last combo?

If you have a common name it’s a good idea to use initials, or to include your middle name, so people can find you online.

Location { Where did you grow up / where do you live / where do you write

Location can be tricky. Writers often go broad for this one. Perhaps not town or city but maybe region or state. Are you a writer based in California? Do you write in New York? Are you from the Pacific Northwest?

Education { all forms

Not every writer has an education section and not every bio needs one. List out any degrees you have here, relevant or not, and then decide later if you want to include it. Perhaps you have a Math degree and you want your readers to know that you are a multi-talented writer.

Remember that education is a broad topic. As we tailor this to writers, let’s expand on additional forms of education.

Have you been to a writers workshop or taken individual classes taught by a writer or agent? You’d be surprised at how many opportunities there are out there to learn a little more every day. Publishing houses, individual agents, community centers, fiction writers, book fairs, conferences, the list goes on and on of people and places that offer classes.

Writing History { What have you written? What are you working on?

This one is a fun one, and not to be confused with publications (which we’ll cover in a second).

In the writing history section, list out what you’ve written. Are you currently working on your first novel? Do you have a collection of short stories ready to be published? Do you write for a living maybe as a copywriter, editor, journalist, or ghost writer? Do you write blogs?

Work Experience { All of it

It is very likely that you won’t need to use all your work experience as you begin crafting your bio. However, it is good practice to have this section completed so later, you can pick and choose as needed.

How might you use this in your bio? Here’s a sneak peak:

  • Ella Jones is an architect by day and writer by night.
  • Thomas Reed is a musician and fiction writer published in ____.

Notice how each detail gives us a hint of a lens and how it also sparks curiosity.

Publications { Literary magazines, contests, newspapers, journals, conferences

Okay, I know you might be thinking “I’m a new writer, I don’t have many or any publications, what do I do?” Hear me out, that’s expected, and totally okay. You’re a new writer!

It’s perfectly fine to say: “this will be my first publication.” Everyone starts somewhere.

2. Fun Fact

The last piece we need to set up is the Fun Fact. Jot down some unique things about you, your interests, your hobbies, perhaps a quirk with writing.

Depending on the vibe of your bio you might want to add some extra personality in there. Here are some examples of fun facts:

  • she is a chess Grandmaster
  • He practices rodeo roping in his spare time
  • He raises llamas for wool
  • She has traveled to more than 120 countries

Don’t think too hard about this one. Just pick something about your life which would surprise a stranger.

3. Save Everything

Trust me, eventually, you’ll want to see how your writing career has evolved. You’ll look through two sentence bios and read on to tailored bios for different occasions.

I recommend keeping a Word or Pages file where you add in all your bios, labeled of course. As your bio evolves, you’ll want a pile where you can pick and choose from.

Also, because you need to include different things in your bio based on where you’re publishing the bio, you’ll need to have a repository of examples so you can mix and match (and also so you don’t forget something the next time you write a bio).

4. Find Examples

Now that you have all the basics written down let’s look at how we can craft each element into a bio.

Take a second and make a quick list of your favorite writers.

Mini tip: Use your favorite writers as inspiration for everything. Look at where they published and add those places to your future publication list. Study their bios and learn how they bring pieces together. 

Now, open up a new tab and look up their bios. What are they including? How did they format it? Do they have multiple bios on their website? What is each designed to do?

Let’s take a look at a few writers. I’ll start off  drawing from The Best American Short Stories for 2021.

“Vanessa Cuti’s fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, AGNI, West Branch, Indiana Review, Cimarron Review, The Rumpus, Shenandoah, and others. She received her MFA from Stony Brook Southampton and lives in the suburbs of New York.” 

This bio is short and sweet and has all the essentials: Name, genre, publications, education, and location.

“Kevin Wilson is the author of two story collections and three novels, most recently Nothing to see Here. His stories have appeared in Ploughshares, A Public Space, The Southern Review, Subtropics, and elsewhere. He lives in Sewanee, Tennessee, and teaches at the University of the South.” 

Great publication history here Kevin. The basics are strong here too: name, what he’s working on, publication history, location, and where he works.

If you are working on a story collection or a piece that isn’t published yet, let the world know!

Ex: Thomas Wilson is a fiction writer currently working on his first short story collection. Boom. First sentence. 

Now that we’ve seen how the basics work, let’s take a look at how new writers are creating their bios and how they are implementing their journey on text.

Here are a few contributor bios from the Zaum 26 issue.

“Vivian Stegura is currently studying Creative Writing at Sonoma State University. She transferred after receiving her associates from the Alamo colleges in San Antonio, Texas. She has recently performed her first reading of her original short story “Remember Me” for Red Light lit in Santa Rosa and is now being published in Zaum. Vivian often has herself elbow deep in paint or covered in ink since she uses art to deal with stress. She’s been painting a little too much lately.” 

Vivian explores the basics and adds a lot of personality to her bio. She starts off with her name and current degree endeavor and then moves to past educational experiences. After that she writes about her first performance of a piece and emphasizes her first publication. That’s always an exciting moment.

The fun fact comes after all the basics. See how it all ties well together?

“Sofia Mosqueda is of Mexican and Filipino ethnicity, and she’s from San Francisco, California. She is currently an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she’s pursuing Writing and Literature within the College of Creative Studies. Her poetry has been accepted to UCSB’s literary magazine, The Catalyst, and she’s seeking to submit more of her pieces to other publications. When she isn’t writing (or daydreaming about writing), she loves to play competitive softball, obsessively buys iced chai from Starbucks, and watches way too many anime at a time.” 

Sofia has a strong bio. It’s a good mix of essential information splashed with personality. She gives us background and location first then education, publications and ends with her interests.

If you think you don’t have much to add to your bio, think again. Draw inspiration from other bios and focus on how you can start crafting your own.

All your experiences, interests, hobbies, education, etc., tell a story about you. Now all you need to to do is bring it all together.

This bring me to the last tip.

5. Create a Formula

As you looked through the bios of other writers, what stood out to you? What worked, what didn’t?

Yes, bios have a structure to them but I can guarantee that not all your bios will look the same.

Tailor your bios to where they will be published and always look at any guidelines. If there are no guidelines, it’s often best to keep it short and sweet and always in third person unless told otherwise.

You got this!

So, best of luck writing!

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