How To Write Popular Satire

Writing satire is a difficult task to master. One of the reasons for this is that you really do need a great idea to start off with – a humorous spin on something that you will build your article or story around. In other styles of writing, both fictional stories and factual articles, a great writer could take any subject and make it interesting, crafting an excellent work just based on their skill as a writer rather than the subject matter they have chosen to write about. This is much less the case for satire, especially in the short story or article form, where no amount of literary talent can make a lame joke funny.

Most popular and successful satire writing has a central joke around which the whole work is based and from which the majority of funny one liners and so on come from. That doesn’t mean an actual joke with a punch line, what I mean by that is perhaps a charicature on a person or goup of people with one particular aspect of their behaviour or personality being lampooned and forming the main well from which everything else flows, or perhaps a certain ironic observation of the world, or something of that kind. It is important to really have a clear idea in your head or on paper about what you want to do before you site down to actually write your piece.

Satire works best when it is ‘of the moment’, when you catch the mood of the times or when you offer up a new take on things that gives a little jolt to the ordinary way of the thinking.

You also have to think carefully about your target audience. People do not neccessarily have to agree with what you are saying, but they must be able to see where you are coming from and have some sympathy for your perspective. Political satire, for example, can be popular with people from all sides of the debate, even if you are taking one specific side, as long as you are mocking aspects of the people or stories that most people think are fair game, and not making a narrow political point.

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