I'm not entirely sure *truth* is the essential quality publishers and editors are looking for in bio blurbs. Interest, possibly. (Though not intrigue. I suspect most publishers would frown on bios written in code, even if the code was as simple as rot13.)
I kind of like the one where you're reassuring the lion.
Oh, how frustrating of them. The magazine used it because it's nice.
I just mailed you a few photos I've taken of you, on the off chance that they might come in handy.
I thought you were the master of, "If you like this sort of thing, this is just the sort of thing you'll like!"
I guess that's for other people's stuff, though.
And that's for the stuff. Not for the person. I mean, there are people I've applied it to, but mostly not kindly.
Oh goodness, yes. How to distil oneself into useful or interesting data points vaguely relevant to the situation is one of those annoying small-talk skills where the inspiration and the need never seem to happen at the same time. I started keeping a file of previous bios so I can steal bits from them for future ones.
Marissa Lingen is a product of the latter half of the 20th Century. She is composed of a statistically average proportion of adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine suspended in a saline solution. Her wave function generally collapses around the Twin Cities, though she has been observed further afield.
Her stories consist of letters which are generally grouped into a mix of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, made spicy by a smattering of punctuation.
As a Minnesotan, however, such punctuation is used sparingly.
I remember once going to a writing class, and the first assignment was to write a story about oneself -- absolutely guaranteed to cause writer's block, at least for me.
I think there are two formulas you can use:
1. start with a fun anecdote (vaguely) relevant to the book/story (i.e. childhood love of SF, or how you met a writer, or an experience in RL similar to something in the book) and then give the absolute minimum bio i.e."She lives in Minnesota with her family."
2. Just give a very brief precis of your publishing history + min bio like "ML has published short stories in X, Y and Z. She has a novel coming out from AA in NN. She lives in Minnesota with her family."
, is in fact part of the problem: when what you have coming out is half a dozen short stories instead of one novel, the standard precis comes out either very listy or too short.
In that case, I guess I'd pick the most prestigious magazine/websites and/or a representative few -- say 3 of 6.
Yes, I am familiar with this strategy. It still, in many cases, leaves me with a two-sentence biography when the other contributors have five to seven.
Perhaps instead of the "coming soon" names list, one could describe some of the stories' interesting bits and then point to your website stories page (or whatever it is you have) for people to read more?
I tend to write my name and then a couple of "quirky" sentences (where quirky stands for whatever falls out of my head during the panicked moments of trying to take the task seriously). In my experience if that's rejected and I send them straight 'name and actual detail about me' the editor suddenly falls in love with the quirky version --reinforcing my belief that I should never take my getting published at all seriously :D
Yeah, I hate that part too. My preference is either to list household members or make something up entirely. Unfortunately, neither strategy is approved of when we get into non-fiction pubs.
I realized, thinking about it, that I aim for the true things in Two Truths and a Lie.
Ever since I found out that everyone is writing their own bios in the third person, Bob Dole-style, they creep me out and I can't write them. Or I start to write really weird, twisted shit for my own amusement. Or I just write "jenfullmoon really hates writing bios. They feel so fake since she found out that you're supposed to write them yourself."
Tor.com does not make you write your own, just FYI. I would never have put my birthplace in my bio--I lived there for three weeks, we have zero emotional tie to it--but that's the format they use, and I get why they like to have the data on where people are from in more than one sense. I just tell you this so that you can go back to being uncreeped by the Tor.com bios.
Okay then! That's nice to know.