Home > advice -- not that you asked, only slightly ranty, Random Musings, Writing, Writing Advice > Inconceivable! Or, The Pitfalls of Writing a Bio

Inconceivable! Or, The Pitfalls of Writing a Bio

It’s difficult to condense who you are into a few sentences, especially on Twitter. There’s a character limit. You can only say so much. But a limit like that can also reveal the potential for poetry. Brevity is the soul of wit. And lingerie. But I digress.

I’ve read a lot of bios. I’ve written a few questionable ones. Once, I accepted an nonexistent Oscar and diligently thanked the Academy. Another time, I used the word “penchant,” because I was having a severe Word Nerd Day when I’d written it. The truth is, we all write and say silly things, sometimes.

There are times, however, where it’s just plain funny. You write something, and another person might GET what you mean, but the actual words you’ve said? You’ve turned into Vizzini. So, without further ado, here are a few phrases you might want to rethink.

1.)    “I live in [State] with my first wife.” Does this mean you’re planning a second? Does your first wife know? Are you secretly a polygamist, Bill?

2.)    “Follow me for author book pub info & book deals for readers.” That sounds like the author version of a creepy man with a van, asking a little girl to help locate a lost puppy. I’m just sayin’.

3.)    “Soon-To-Be-Famous-Author.” Face, meet palm. First, the hyphens nearly gave me a seizure. Second, that does not belong in a bio. That is a wish, not a facet of who you are. You are a writer. Not a pen-wielding ninja hell-bent on world domination. Although, as Pinky always says, NARF! Carry on.

4.)    “I am a full-blooded American…” Is there an advertisement for vampires? What’s your vintage, darling? Shall I alert Lestat? Edward is too busy sparkling, somewhere, I’m afraid.

5.)    “Follow me on this amazing journey!” Oh, good! Sign me up. Because I was about to follow this other person, over there, who was going on a non-amazing journey.

6.)    “I am working on [insert novel title here].” Three words: show, don’t tell. Also, the first rule of writing is: don’t talk about it unless it’s finished. Or you’re sworn a blood oath of secrecy. *hides pocketknife*

7.)    “100’s of [whatever]…” ARG. What is that vagabond apostrophe doing there? You mean 100s. TRUST ME.

8.)    So-and-so has published over seventy novels! Tweet with her…” Is she too busy to write her own Twitter bio? I feel like her assistant is going to answer me, not her. Either that, or she’s overly fond of referring to herself in the third person, which is a major pet peeve of mine. Or, in lingo that might be better understood, “Ali is not fond of that.” Savvy?

9.)    “I am a star of a reality romance novel…” Uh, why did I not know that something like that existed? Also, that feels a bit too much like voyeurism to me. Also, star? Really? Let me call Mr. DeMille. I’ll tell him you’re ready for your close-up, Ms. Desmond.

10.) “I’m working on [whatever] and hopefully, one day, I’ll finish [whatever].” So, you’re maybe working on SOMETHING that you might, at some vague point in the future, actually finish? Okay, then. Good to know.

  1. Jim
    March 4, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Great post! I love “full-blooded. Reminds me of an old-time service station. “You were ’bout a quart low, ma’am, but now you’re full-blooded. Topped off your sweat glands and lubed your sinuses just to be safe.”

    • March 4, 2012 at 11:55 am

      Jim, thank you! Your comment made me laugh out loud. Priceless. 🙂

  2. March 4, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I’m afraid Ms. Carline does like to refer to herself in the third person. It’s actually quite liberating – she can say things that sound prideful without sounding immodest. And she never refers to Mr. Carline as her 3rd husband, unless she can fit it in for comic effect, as in calling herself a “member of the third wives’ club.”

    One of these days, I’m going to post a bio on Twitter that says I’m a best selling author of the greatest books of the 21st Century. It seems like every other author’s bio says that, and I’ve never heard of them.

    • March 4, 2012 at 11:56 am

      Gayle, please don’t ever change. Your comment was awesome. Also, I think you should add one thing to your future bio: will sell more copies than the BIBLE! An instant classic. *grin* Agreed, too, that 99% of the time, I’ve never heard of that author. *shakes head*

  3. March 4, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    The third-person thing made me LOL. I once attended a wedding and was seated beside a woman who kept referring to herself in the third person. Since I didn’t know her name, it wasn’t until cake was served that I figured out she wasn’t a snide bitch gossiping about some poor sap behind her back!

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