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So I gotta write another bio.

I have a fairly standard mode that I go into writing bios--I've done enough of them that my brain shorts out, and I just regurgitate a few standard phrases, blah blah, freelance illustrator blah blah husband blah cat blah current residence blah.

This is not very interesting stuff.

Casting my mind back to Facinating Bios I Have Read, I recall very few. I remember a few amusing raised-by-wolves ones, and I always liked Lemony Snicket's "Has been gathering information and is now consider something of an authority" bio, but for the most part, they don't stick in my memory. When I read them, my brain just oozes past the words and somewhere in the back of my skull, a lone harmonica starts up. I can't imagine any random stranger cares where I was born or where I'm currently living or how many cats I have.

So, O readers, I appeal to you--what's a good bio? What do people want to know? What interests them? If you were gonna name one thing I should absolutely, positively, include in a two paragraph bio for a guest spot at a furry convention, what would it be?

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I swear I remember a piece in your galleries about the meaning of life... a naked woman standing in front of a cave wall on which is scrawled, over and over, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" (I seem to recall). Yet now I can't find this piece. In any case, I remember the text that accompanied that piece to be very memorable and a style I would love to see your bio written in. (Bring in your wit, put in some weirdness, but not overly scriptural.)

Ah, I Googled it and came up with this link. Doubting myself, I cross-referenced with the actual gallery and I'm pretty sure there's no longer a link for it... so I don't think I'm mad... er.

No, you're right--I took it down for space reasons, but the page still exists, you just can't get there from here.

I disagree somewhat with your premise that people don't care about the simpler things - I do find such domestic details interesting anyways. Cats and pets, spouses and kids, condo or farm, those things take up the majority of our time and are part of who we are.

Sure I like Magrite, but thats trivia really, it's not me if you know what I mean there. That said my own bio is perhaps more resume' than description I, perhaps that's something I should work on too - something worth pondering...


Your home address, your phone number, and two lists: things you like most and things you're most afraid of. Standard stuff stalkers should know.

I am positively terrified of people handing me bags of money in small unmarked bills. It unhinges me completely.

But don't take my word for it!

Something you are resolved never to draw no matter how many people demand it.

"Has produced more wombat-oriented work than anyone since the Rossetti family."

I have to admit in your shoes I'd be tempted to fictionalize the whole thing. "Ms. Vernon is here by special arrangement and in disguise, due to recent threats on her life by the Universal Consortium Championing Unicorn Transrepresentational Esthetics (UCUTE). The local Vole League plans to picket the convention in protest. "Vernon draws chupabracas, wombats, and capybaras on heroic adventures," said a spokesmammal. "But is there a vole to be seen in her oeuvre? It's discriminatory."

*laugh* Hey, there are much worse ideas.

And you're right...why haven't I drawn a vole?!

You don't want your collection of work to be voleminous?

I hear you on writing bios. I'm not very big on them. I like the last paragraph however.. you know, the one detailing my grand plans for the future. I think tongue-in-cheek is the easiest way to go when talking about oneself.

"I am 23, introverted, and I give myself hand-cramps and finger-callouses writing in my 2 different journals while earning a living as a painter. I am currently fascinated with etymology, though that may change by tomorrow or maybe after lunch.

I am stockpiling my income, and I will retire at the age of 55 and live out the rest of my days in a beach side log cabin, drinking beer for breakfast on my roof while watching the sun come up."

I have not enough sleep and may not actually be posting anything anyone cares about.

Well, the forum dictates to a degree as well; the first (and admittedly thus far only) 'real' bio I did was for a local publication, so I wanted to mention my local ties, a bit about my life, and something which might make it possible for anyone reading it to recognize me on the street, as the localness of it made such a thing actually maybe possible.

So I ended up with:

Kassandra Siegel is a native to the Pittsburgh area, born in Jeannette, and living in Monroeville all her life. Presently, in between complaining about the time it takes from her writing, she attends CCAC. She has spent considerable time involved in various online projects, the most productive of which was being the editor of and contributor to Elfwood's eZine for a year. She can frequently be found missing PARSEC meetings, saying embarrassing and memorable things at WorD meetings, and wearing sequined devil's horns. This is her first published story.

I don't know what people who don't have an amusing headgear thing say, though, but personally I hope to work it into all future bios. Also, I agree that wombats should be mentioned in yours somewhere, somehow. Make it a game--how many different ways can you include wombats in your bios?

"Ms Vernon claims to be Thomas Pynchon's Moustache."


Yeah, I hear you. I'm working on a new website for myself right now, and writing the bio was hard. Um, born, read a lot, moved, got into the fringes of animation.

I ended up borrowing some phrased from Edward Gorey's "The Gilded Bat", but I'm really still not sure if "Life continued to be somewhat unexciting." is really a sentence that belongs in a brief bio...

There's always lying outrageously.

Awareness and appreciation of Lemony Snicket is a sign of exceptional good taste.

As far as bios go, I recall recently enjoying Tim Rice's bio in the playbill for a (mediocre at best) touring production of "Jesus Christ Superstar." It stood out from the crowd because it had voice. It displayed Rice's characteristic flair for vocabulary and expressed chagrin at his loss of the Tony for his JCS lyrics. More than what was said, the way it was said stood out in my mind. So the real key is to convey personality. You seem to do that well in your LJ writing, so it should be fairly easy for you to do so in your bio. And of course, don't forget to include the answer to the burning question, "If I were a tree, what kind of tree would I be?"

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Absolutely! If you hadn't mentioned this one, I was going to.
Apologies for typos ahead of time.

"For those who really need to know, Terry Pratchett was born in Buckinghamshire in 1948. He has managed to avoid all the really interesting jobs authors take in order to look good in this kind of biography. In his search for a quiet life he got a job as a Press Officer with the Central Electricity Generating Board just after the Three Mile Island, which shows his unerring sense of timing. Now a full-time writer, he lives in Wiltshire with his wife and daughter. He likes people to buy him banana daiquiris (he knows people don't read author biographies, but feels this might be worth a try).

"Neil Gaiman used to be a journalist, but gave it all up to write comics, which he claims are a totally valid late twentieth century art form, and he's even won awards for them, so that's all right. He's 5'10" tall, owns a number of black T-shirts, and although he's not overly fond of banana daiquiris, is always very flattered when appreciative fans sens him money (he's read Terry Pratchett's biography, and, although he doubts that this will have any effect, figures what the hell). Dollars for preference, in this uncertain world.

"Terry Pratchett gets up early in the mornings, Neil Gaiman early in the afternoons. This book was created in the four or five hours every day when both of them were awake."

For my 2.5 cents, I always liked Peter David's bio in the hardcover version of...Knight Life, I think. Wish I could find it, but I don't own it and the library's closed right now. It had something to do with his photograph moving when you don't look at it, and his tendency to say "rutabega" at inappropriate moments.
Or we could always go with Paul Kidd's bio in the White Plume Mountain series.
(Actually, there are three different ones, but the ones in "Descent to the Depths of the Earth" and "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" are funniest.)
"Paul Kidd lives in Melbourne, Australia. He emerges from time to time to write comic books like the ever popular 'Tank Vixens' series, work on anime television series, and write novels for Wizards of the Coast such as White Plume Mountain.
When he grows up, he wants to be a spaceman."

"Paul n [fr Latin paulatus 'to layer or laminate,' or pauli (common European hedgehog)]
1: A cave-dwelling relative of the mile cricket, somethimes growing up to 8 cm in length.
2 A bearded, balding, twit writer from Perth, Australia.
Paul either lives clinging to cave roofs and walls, following a largely carnivorous existence eating glow worm larvae, or he lives in Perth, Australia, writing screenplays, animated series, novels, computer games, and comic books.
It is possible that his recent novel releases include White Plume Mountain, Descent to the Depths of the Earth, A Whisper of Wings, The Rats of Acomar, and The Fangs of K'aath. Scientists consider it likely that he is the creater, writer, and co-director of several animated drama and comedy projects now in prodiction.
Alternatively: His ability to survive total freezing and emerge with even his chitinous exoskeleton intact is the source of much speculation in scientific circles."

That was largely useless, but hey, that's what I'm here for.
And now, I watch you.

I liked Anne McCaffery's bio(but it could have been Andre Norton's) that says something to the effect of "I have geen eyes, red hair, and freckles. The rest is apt to change with out notice." I think that is close....eek. How sad that I can't remember.

I gotta go for "blatant lies."

I'm not generally in favor of those, but I have to say it's true. Any biography that starts out along the lines of, "Anne McCaffrey owns three dragons of her own and lives in an alternative dimension south of..." etc. is likely to keep my interest so that I actually get to the point where it says "has written 43 books and lives happily with her husband and children."

remember to mention you are a mammal with tool using talents
and you have hair
and a spine ... people so take vertabrate status for granted

ummm Opposable thumbs are nice
You have successfully played host to a plethoria of flora and fauna deep inside your intestinal tract and they have had only rare complaints to you as a landlord

My favorite bios are the funny ones. Here are some gems we get from authors at Quantum Muse (each paragraph is a different author):

Mark Stanley is a forty-something avionics technician, former Marine, dedicated bachelor, degenerate gambler, border line alcoholic and unapologetic hack writer. He lives in South Florida.

To the chagrin of many bill collectors, Douglas A. Van Belle has moved to the other side of the world and is sitting on a beach in New Zealand.

Clint Venezuela is an alien from the planet Zodd and has one head only.

Gorky Skank is half dead and half mad, but has lightning in his veins.

(Another from Douglas Van Belle) Douglas A. Van Belle has dedicated his ten years of college education to the delicate task of torturing students foolish or desperate enough to waste their parent's hard-earned money on tuition. While he has recently published a book and several articles, you haven't read any of it, but you should order his book immediately so that next year he can super-size the lavish meal he buys with his royalty check. He claims to have a congenital Karma defect, but it has been scientifically proven that his day-to-day luck is so bad because fate has used up pretty much all of the good stuff just keeping his ass out of the morgue. He has survived the 150-foot flight of a recreational vehicle over the tornado-swept plains of Kansas, a winter of commercial crab fishing in Alaska, the unintended destruction of motor vehicles of all descriptions, and the usual extremes of delayed and extended adolescent stupidity.

From Eric J. Gehl - I live in Chicago, I'm originally from Iowa, the potato state. Oh wait, that's Ohio. Sorry. I'm 27, I love windsurfing, blueberry cobbler and gluing things together to make other things.

Hope this helps! : )

That second Douglas A. Van Belle one is absolutely brilliant. The first one is good too, but the second one is truely awesome.

How about something like:

"Ursula Vernon was raised by wombats in the wilds of Australia. After being kidnapped from her adoptive family by a pack of alien mongeese, she decided to begin a career in the visual arts after learning the hard way that tap-dancing was not her forte."

Yay for random drivel!

"Ursula Vernon is a small, cuddly burrowing mammal native to Australia. She has formidable claws and an armored rump. She also worries occasionally that she identifies too closely with the subjects of her artwork.

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"Ursula Vernon used to live in an apartment with a radiator so loud that it caused her to draw comparisons between it and armored raccoons copulating in cookware"

Or maybe not. That was a memorable post for me. That and "The Mystery of Easter Island: Sledge or Roller?" Even my dad liked that one.

Hm.... put in something about the squirrels!

Ursula Vernon most recently lived in Arizona, where she spent her days attempting to give herself heat stroke through the combination of the climate, a camera, and the zoo. Now she lives in North Carolina, where she is attempting to use selective evolution to create a breed of super-squirrels through the cunning use of bird feeders.

Hmmm...y'know, I might actually use this one...

Some of the weird and amusing things about you always works, like Terry Pratchett's "He used to grow carnivorous plants, but now they've taken over the greenhouse and he avoids going in."

I would suggest unusual but true facts, like the way your pets' names didn't match their personalities, and what you had decided to call your next pet based on that fact.

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