Today, I was tasked with writing two bio’s, a short one and a longer one for my publisher. Really short is not so hard because there’s so little you can say. You just write, “Dena Netherton used to sing and teach, but now she writes. Here’s what she writes…”
Bada bing, bada boom.
The slightly longer bio is harder. Because, if it were a really long bio I could write all sorts of boring stuff that you really don’t want to read, and it would be okay, ’cause it’s supposed to be long.
But @250 words is challenging. I can’t be boring, but I can’t do the Joe Friday style—”just the facts, Ma’am—” either.
Should I leave out all the usual stuff about being born and raised near San Francisco, where I studied (the Midwest), and where I’ve lived? (Just about everywhere in the continental US.)
The middle-sized bios I don’t like are this kind: “Jane lives in the country with two cats, three dogs, and a grumpy husband. But she loves coffee. Lots of it. In her free time she loves to go to yard sales.”
First of all, I don’t have a dog or a cat (please don’t come down on me; I love animals, particularly donkeys), and my husband is perfectly lovely. I’m not a particularly interesting person, either. On the plus side, I have musical talent, a high IQ, and I’m told my stories are pretty exciting. And I find everyone fascinating, so I’m good at listening.
On the negative? I’m short and looking older every time I pass the mirror. I love donuts, but I shouldn’t. Things stress me out because I’m a perfectionist. My memory isn’t as good as it was two decades ago.
Some weird things happened to me:
A police officer practically tackled me one dark night in San Francisco because he thought I was intending to bomb a high-ranking city official’s house.
I—a shy, Christian, non pot-smoking gal— rode a hippy bus, packed with pot-smoking, skinny-dipping, free-lovin’ hippies cross country. Somewhere between Cheyenne and Lincoln, NE, I got to share my faith with a guy. I still wonder what happened to him.
I’ve been assaulted several times—never seriously, though—while traveling to some of my many musical gigs.
I tumbled down a dark flight of stairs, but some unseen force—obviously an angel— caught me and gently placed me in a seated position on the steps.
Now that you know these weird facts, you’ll never have to read an entire long bio of Dena Netherton.
But I’m still trying to figure out how to be interesting at under 250 words.