Step 1: Identify the Topic
With your group, choose a topic that is relevant, current, and debatable. Remember that the flaws and foibles of all aspects of society—from government to celebrity to religion, from teenagers to presidents to soccer moms—are grist for the satirist’s mill. Once you have all agreed on a topic about which you all want to write, have it approved by your teacher.
For Example:Students being late to class (tardiness)
Step 2: Choose an Appropriate Structure, Type of Satire, and Audience for your Piece Review the various samples of satire we read in class over the last week, and determine which one would be the most appropriate (in terms of its structure and techniques) for your group to use as a model for your satirical piece. After choosing the piece that your group will use as a “satirical model,” make a list of the conventions you need to use in your satire. Decide whether your piece will be more Horatian or Juvenalian. Finally, identify your audience. To whom will you address your satire and why? What tone will be most appropriate for this audience and for your purpose?
For Example:The satirical piece “Gambling in Schools” is the most appropriate model for a satirical piece over tardiness, because it uses wit irony, sarcasm, and hyperbole to make its point. We plan to use all of these techniques in our Horatian satirical piece. The most appropriate audience for our satire over tardiness is the student body; many students feel that the tardiness problem is exaggerated in our school and will find the exaggerated claims we will make and our sarcastic tone amusing.
Step 3: State the problem in Hyperbolic Terms
Make the problem sound much worse than it actually is to dramatize the need for a solution.
For Example:“The staggering lack of students at the beginning of class leaves teachers paralyzed.”
This diction, specifically words the “paralyzed” and “staggering,” overstates the severity of the problem and helps develop the satirical tone for which we are aiming.
Step 4: Propose an Ironic Solution
Come up with a solution to the problem that seems counterintuitive and ridiculous because it actually adds to the problem you are addressing in your piece.
For Example:“If students are late, they must stand outside the door for 20 minutes.”
This solution doesn’t solve the problem at all. Ironically, it actually adds to the problem because it keeps students out of class even longer, thus keeping them from learning.
Step 5: Use Wit (Wordplay, Clever Language, or Rhetorical Analogy) Include as many puns and clever wordplays as you can to help develop a satirical tone and illustrate your point.
For Example:Punishment will be doled out in a timely manner. (Word play) This problem is a ticking time bomb! (Rhetorical analogy)
These examples of wit add to the author’s creditability as a satirist.
Step 6: Choose a Clever Title for your Satirical Piece
Consider the broad satirical ideas in your text, and brainstorm appropriate titles for your piece. With your group, choose the title you feel best captures the essence (topic, tone, etc.) of your satire. The more clever and amusing your title, the better!
For Example:“Tardiness: Are we too late or just in time to fix this complex problem?”
This title introduces the topic of the satiric piece while simultaneously suggesting that the piece will be a satire with its clever wordplay.
Step 7: Draft, Edit, and Revise your Satirical Piece
Work together to draft your piece, keeping in mind the conventions you identified in step two. After completing a rough draft, collectively revise it to clarify ideas, refine structure, and enhance coherence. With your group, complete a SOAPSTone analysis of your piece to gauge your effectiveness at constructing a...