How to Use Satire in Writing

Satirical writing probably seems like a very challenging thing to attempt, especially if you are an inexperienced writer. But, you can use satire in writing once you learn how. Of course, understanding that satire is comedic criticism will more than likely help you in the process?

You will see satirical writing aimed at current news and other broad topics that most people are well-aware of them. It means that before you can start writing whole satire pieces, you will have to ensure that you are up to date on the headlines. Imagine that you will be attempting to write for Saturday Night Live (SNL) as they regularly poke fun at the day’s top stories.

Two Types of Satire

To better explain satire, we would like to suggest to you that there are two necessary forms. The first one is much like Jonathan Swift’s, A Modest Proposal. He addressed the far-reaching issues of Ireland’s hunger and starvation attached to the exorbitant living of the elite. He suggested that poor Irish individuals should sell their children to let the rich continue flaunting their opulence.

The second form is far more entertaining and visible. Mostly, a writer will employ several other elements of humor throughout the piece to alert readers that he/she is jesting. Satire, in and of itself, is not inherently funny, but when tied to other elements of comedy it can be quite enjoyable. We would suggest you watch some current event based SNL skits to get a better understanding of this kind of writing.

Getting Started with Satire

Now that you understand the two forms of satire, it is imperative that you grasp the steps necessary to achieve the writing style you desire. Some of these suggestions may seem elementary, but they are essential to good satirical writing and should take seriously. These steps will help you write good satire-infused pieces:

  1. Pick the topic carefully. You don’t need to choose the most favorite topic or person of interest, but it is necessary that you pick something that has a broad audience. Celebrity pieces should be about those that are familiar with a large number of people. Storylines need to have equal amounts of a standard connection.
  2. Don’t negate your interests. While we suggest that you pick something that is relatively familiar to a larger audience, that doesn’t mean you have to forego the topics or people that you find most interesting. Look for hypocrisy, or seeming inconsistencies and cover-up behaviors. These make great items to bring to the forefront of the public eye. Plus, they will make your research all the more intriguing and rewarding. Enjoying the writing process is just as important as writing a great piece.
  3. Don’t make it complicated. Satire can be simple. You don’t have to meet your personal goals in writing by making the part too difficult. Just make sure that your readers will know who or what the piece is directed at. That recognition will make a good deal of difference for your success and their enjoyment.
  4. Pick a great title. People read things based on catchy titles. You may have to get a publisher’s attention before you ever even get your piece in the public eye. Keep that in mind when you choose your title. Your big article will go nowhere if you can’t get the publisher or reader excited by an attention-grabbing title.
  5. Pictures paint a thousand words. What your headline/title does for your user’s desire to move forward in the piece, the picture will do even more. Imagery is always something that draws interest. So, picking the perfect picture for your article is essential to its success, maybe even more important than the title.
  6. Don’t rush. Writers are sometimes in the habit of blowing through pieces so that they can get on to the next assignment. We understand that in many cases a good part means a nice paycheck. This is all the more reason to take your time to carefully consider what you are trying to convey to your readers. What aspect of the story, or celebrity’s life, are you satirizing?And, will your piece express that intent in a concise and distinct manner to the readers? Be sure you reread and provide potential publishers with the best piece you can write on the topic you have chosen.
  7. Understand that editing may happen. No matter how many times you have read the article to yourself, there is always the possibility that the publisher will want to change some things. When they choose to include your piece in their publication, they have already deemed you worthy as a writer. That means that the suggestions they make, for editorial purposes, have nothing to do with your ability. Every publisher is different, and they each have their tone and design preferences. Meet their requests with eagerness and enjoy the accolades that publishing provides.

How to write satire might have been a challenging thought before reading these very specific suggestions. Now that you are prepared to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, you will need to go through the most popular news, or celebrity gossip sites, to see what grabs your attention.

The one thing to be aware of is the more popular a topic is, the more competition you will face as everyone wants to write about the hottest subjects of the day. If you are ok with the second or third best story, you’ll have a better chance of seeing it in print.


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