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Tips on Writing a Good Satire Essay

written by: Amanda Smith • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 1/20/2012

Writing a great satirical essay is all about identifying your audience and crafting your work in a way that is appealing to your readers. It is also important to use exaggeration, irony and sarcasm when writing a satire essay. Many students find writing satire a fun challenge!

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    What is a Satire Essay?

    A satire essay is a work that is meant to poke fun at a particular subject. Some of the most common satirical essays are written about political candidates during an election. The author typically finds material that is interesting because of its level of irony.

    I like to think about Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update as a satirical piece. The information presented is factual, but the facts are exaggerated and twisted in a way that invokes a sense of humor. Other examples of satirical work include editorial cartoons found in your local newspaper.

    Getting Personal

    The goal of writing a satire essay is to provide the reader with a fun, humourous and somewhat sarcastic read, while sticking to facts. Satire writing is very opinionated in its format. Unlike other forms of essay writing, satires allow you to put your own personal spin and perspective on the issue. In satirical essay writing, you are trying to make a point. Your goal is not only to make reader's laugh and enjoy reading the article, but usually the author has his own motive in bringing something to light that he is passionate about.

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    Choosing Your Satirical Topic

    The first step, and the most important step, is choosing the right topic. It helps to choose a topic that you are interested in because it will be more fun to write, and the reader will pick up on your personal thoughts about the subject. The best subjects will be ones that other people can relate to. It is common to choose subjects that relate to current events in the media. Choosing something that others can identify with will either make them laugh or make them angry. Both of these responses indicate that you have done your job well.

    Make sure that the topic that you choose has a good sense of irony or humor. For example, it would be ironic for a company to advertise and market that it is "going green" if it is not doing its part in general recycling. This would be a great topic because it is relevant in today's society and also brings insight to the issue in a sarcastic way.

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    What's Your Point?

    After choosing your topic, the next step is to figure out what point you are trying to make. The humor needs to be directed to an overall point, otherwise the satire essay will seem scattered and incomplete. Here are some things to consider:

    What do I think about my topic? How do I feel about the particular subject?

    What is ironic about the subject?

    How is this subject funny or absurd?

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    Your Audience

    Once you have figured out what point you are trying to make, you must then take into account the audience that you are appealing to. Is this going to be read by other students in your highschool English class? Would it be read by professionals in the field that you are commenting on? Who is your audience? Identifying your audience is important because your tone should be dependent upon the people that will be reading your essay. You must decide if you want a more casual or formal feel to your writing. Here are some questions to think about when identifying your audience.

    • Who is going to be reading this essay?
    • How would I phrase my point if I was telling it to a friend?
    • How would I write if it was being written for experts on the subject?
    • What is different about my casual writing style and formal writing style?
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    Putting it All Together

    Now you have the framework: you have identified a topic, decided on a specifical point about the topic, and assessed your audience. Now its time to start writing. Here are some tips to make your satire essay shine.

    1. Use hyperbole to exaggerate points.
    2. Strategically choose language that exaggerates the irony.
    3. Add lots of humor
    4. The more sarcastic the better
    5. Stick the facts

    Remember, writing a satire essay can be fun. It is supposed to reflect your personal opinions on the matter at hand. Much like reflective essay writing, you have some creative freedom when writing a satire essay. Just be sure to back up your opinions with real facts about the subject. Thats what makes it effective- combining true concrete facts with a twist that influences readers to think a certain way. Satirical writing is very persuasive and opinonated, so when reading your final draft, make sure that you can feel a pull of persuasion.

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