The most common topics for satire are generally politics, current events, perceived social problems, and the normal pitfalls of everyday life. Satire in literature typically needs to be written with irony, sarcasm, and hyperbolic parody to be effective. Successfully written satire topics are able to call readers' attention to a relevant issue and even to question their own preconceived ideas surrounding that issue. The literary genre of satire is noted for its use of descriptive exaggeration, and a well-written piece generally highlights a topic that a relatively large variety of readers recognize.
Political happenings are common topics for satire because they tend to be subjects most people hear about in various news broadcasts. The decisions of government leaders are sometimes the subject of satire when large segments of the population believe leaders are making unwise policy choices. This type of written criticism can be especially prevalent in societies that highly value democracy and freedom of expression.
Satirical writing is a frequent means for social criticism, particularly concerning divisive issues. One writer with a certain viewpoint may create a satire with the ultimate goal of pointing out the fallacy of the opposite point of view. Some famous satires in literary form are done as narratives with sarcasm as one of the primary tools for communicating the author's message about these types of issues. Popular topics for satire about social issues may concern the gap between the rich and the poor or the separation between church and state.
One of the preliminary steps of writing in this literary genre is to thoroughly understand the nuances of satire, as some types of satirical writing are more subtle than others. Many writers attempting a satire spend a good deal of time reading the narrative parodies of more established satirists before coming up with their own ideas. A frequent challenge is formulating an original take on a popular idea, because multiple writers can sometimes parody the same topics for satire and make it more difficult for a new writer to say something unique about that material.
Aspects of everyday life can sometimes make entertaining satire topics if they are crafted with the appropriate measures of wit and irony. Some literary satirists write narratives on topics such as the trials of technology or urban living. These satires are often intended to communicate underlying commentary about related human behavior.