ABSTRACT The ontogeny of the ability to describe people culminates in adolescence in the development of the life story. An overarching temporal macrostructure and framing by a prehistory and a future-oriented global evaluation of life helps integrate disparate autobiographical memories into a coherent story. Two life narratives each of 8-, 12-, 16-, and 20-year-olds (N=102) were analyzed in terms of how well-formed their beginnings and endings are and how much they follow a linear temporal order. By age 12, the majority of life narratives began with birth, ended in the present, and followed a chronological order. In late adolescence and early adulthood, more elaborate birth narratives and retrospective evaluations of life and outlooks into the future were added. These formal characteristics were related to biographical practices, biographical knowledge, and fluid intelligence. Text-analytical methods are proposed as a method for the analysis of biographical and autobiographical reasoning and understanding.