Gah Bios.. They give you the chance to parade all your late-night dictionary and thesaurus reading and slurp out simplistic but stunning linguistics in a sentence that Hemingway would praise. You can spend hours crafting that perfect fifty-word bio only to come up with:
Shannon McKeogh likes to eat Vegie Chips and watch Degrassi: The Next Generation on ABC3.
Bios are a bitch. Yet, its your defining moment. YOUR only sentence below your article as a writer about YOU. Better make it snappy. And short -the editor reminds you. But can one really squeeze themselves into a fancy smancy fifty-word summary of perfection? Sure its only fifty words but you don’t want to look like an idiot do you? Of course not. The bio must be:
1) Intelligent and reflective of your literary genius. Mentioning you have a PhD in some arty, cultural-ness is a sure winner.
2) Witty and make one chuckle or at least respond in a deep-throated laugh
3) Be honest and somewhat poignant
4) If there’s room (there won’t be) flog your wares, blog, new book, new pamphlet endorsing specialised lamp shade making. Its shameless self-promotion baby.
Now, for me the third thing kind of makes the two things irrelevant because I don’t like to take myself too seriously in bios. I like to bullshit and I think being as a writer I should bloody well be able to fictionalise every single thing about myself. Unfortunately readers and editors want honesty and so I guess I’ve got to trim back on the bull-shit and stop being such a smart ass.
I love reading other people’s bios. They seem like pure genius. Flipping through my first copy of Voiceworks I was more interested in who these writers were then their actual pieces. So, this is why I will be a slave to my fifty-word bio piece because it might be the only thing a reader might read on my page and I better make it worth reading..