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How to Start a Satire Essay


Satire is a type of humor that makes human vices and mistakes visible in order to mock or scorn them. It may very well be the most difficult form of humor to write, as it not only requires an extra edge of cleverness, but may also get you in trouble, according to the Bandersnatch website, as the target of your satire will likely be displeased by your sly put-downs.

Find a topic or person to satirize. Be up to date on current affairs, both local and national. Chose the subject wisely, making sure the issue is something of great importance to you. Fact-check your information by checking multiple reputable sources and make sure the information is up to date.

Make sure your criticism of a particular subject is valid and the subject is put into focus. Also, determine your writing style and voice in your piece. Go for the ideal style, which is literary, sly, under-handed and trenchant. Do not be outwardly insulting or obscene, as such shock value will detract from good satire. The Bandersnatch website, a publication specializing in satire, uses the term "delightfully vicious" in describing the ideal satire writing style.

Know your intended audience. Be certain that readers know what you are satirizing. If you plan to parody a person by substituting the name in the piece, for instance, it should be immediately obvious whom you are actually satirizing by your descriptions.

Choose an eye-catching title and picture. Use a clever title that will immediately let the reader know that it is a satire. Also, use a good picture of your intended subject to accompany the article. If the piece is for a newspaper, the picture might be provided for you by the editor.

Make sure to frame the piece within proper context. Publish the article in a literary journal known for scathing humor or in a newspaper column especially for editorials or satire pieces, as opposed to putting the piece in a very serious newspaper or journal. If the piece is placed in a very serious context, it will catch the reader by surprise and the humor will likely get lost.

Tip
  • According to the Not The Onion website, reality is stranger than fiction; real stories can develop and oftentimes "out-bizarre" your own satirical work. So keeping up to date can allow you to one-up the quirkiness in your own work.
About the Author

Jane McDonaugh has been a professional writer and editor since 2010, with expertise in literature, television, film and humor. She is a freelance reader for Author Solutions Film and has held many other positions in television and film production. McDonaugh holds a Bachelor of Arts in television production and English from Emerson College.

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