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How to Write Satire

February 3, 2018




     If you know me, then you know that I adamantly HATE satire, sarcasm, and ESPECIALLY satirical journalism. Definitely not things I’m interested in or have some sort of odd inclination for. So, I don’t really know how to write satire and I don’t know why I’m even writing this article.

     I assume you picked up on the sarcasm there, but to clarify - I was kidding around. I love satire, sarcasm, and satirical journalism! As I write for two satirical journalism publications, dabble in stand-up comedy, have a job writing jokes for a newsletter, and have always used satire in my fiction writing, I’m pretty seasoned with this stuff (although like everyone, I am still learning constantly). So, here are some tips for writing satire that have helped me.


1. Be Observant and Analytical!

People watching is key if you’re writing satire, especially if you’re making fun of social constructs and/or the human condition. Additionally, it is important to analyze these observations, and question why something occurs. For example: you notice that people down espresso shots as if it is their job (even though they probably don’t do anything after a certain point) so try to analyze why so you can find humor in it. Plus, if you do so, more people can relate.


2. Try to Find Humor in Everything!

It’s sort of an innate ability as to whether someone is funny. On that note, I find that great senses of humor usually derive from some sort of trauma earlier on in life (DEFINITELY not where my sense of humor comes from) to mask suffering. For example, Josh Peck's father left him and he was bullied throughout school. And who doesn't love Josh Peck? Hopefully you don't have trauma, but my point is that you should try to find light in everything. Finding humor in every day life will help you look at things from a comedic viewpoint. Additionally, it'll get your endorphin's pumping (who needs exercise anyway?) and surely cheer you up. As a result, it will help your writing.


3. Read Satire!

For inspiration and learning purposes, it is crucial to read other’s work. (This applies to any type of writing as well). Good writers read. So check out some Jonathan Swift (such as A Modest Proposal), and websites such as Reductress and The Onion.


4. Know Your Audience!

It is important to know WHO you are writing for. For example, The Onion appeals to everyone though they mainly focus on politics, whereas Reductress focuses on women and feminist issues. Alternatively, you may be writing about a university, or about your hometown - so write about what the audience can relate to.


5. Balance is Important & Try Something New!

When one hears the word satire, they may think of satirical journalism, such as the aforementioned publications. But satire can also be implemented in creative writing – usually accompanied by a dry, humorous writing tone. Satire in itself, even with satirical journalism, takes a lot of creativity but is based on real events or concepts. Personally, I am always self-conscious that my writing typically lacks imagery and is very straight forward. However, everyone has their own writing style, and it’s nice to take a break from excessively poetic writing (even though it can be beautiful). Though satire in writing usually has a dry tone, as I mentioned, it’s important to balance out colorful vocabulary with a dry tone. If it’s solely dry with absolutely no ‘flair’ to it, your satire piece may not be as successful as you wish. As I stated before, I am still learning how to do this.


To conclude this blog post, satire is a wonderful type of writing that you should explore, perhaps using these tips!


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