as sent to me by a friend
  1. Begin with lust and rage and mean-spiritedness if need be, but write yourself through to shared laughter, one the "victim" shares, unless you mean a death struggle.

  2. If you write anonymously about anyone other than a public figure, and mean to wound, can't help wounding, consider making the victim a "type," not a person. Make up a name for your speaker, but also for your target: "Sir Richard Surly," or whatever.

  3. If you need therapy, get therapy.

  4. Remember that satire by definition has a moral point.  Vindictiveness, flaming, making an example out of a minor figure, none of that is satire.

  5. I believe that by definition real satire is directed at those who are, in ordinary life, in a position to not only retaliate, but are in a position to retaliate by inflicting real injury: the pillory, Guantanamo, an IRS audit, termination from a job. Unless the risk to yourself is heroic, don't call your cruelty satire.

  6. Remember that satire is a gun that recoils upon the speaker, and the author too. Remember that it "takes one to know one." The Fool reviles the Knave, and the Knave reviles the Fool.

  7. Often the strongest and best satire isolates in the "Other" the writer's own faults. We overcome ourselves by wounding our own sinful nature. But remember that the boil that most needs lancing is on your own laughing face.

  8. To rejoice in the suffering of those weaker than yourself, or vulnerable people, is not satire but malice. (As Oscar Wilde would say, "That is a fault.")

  9. To run with a mob and lynch even a person who deserves it is not satire, but a sin.

  10. Satire wounds only to heal, inflicts pain only to instruct, and leaves the target either untouched (since only a type has been satirized), or laughing, if ruefully.

  11. When the victim laughs at his own folly and the crowd laughs too, the satirist has prevailed.

  12. When the victim extracts the satirist's blood, or sues and wins, the satirist has lost.

  13. The satirist also loses when the victim, innocent or guilty, is broken upon the wheel, while the mob jeers. This is only excusable as a last resort when the victim is the Tyrant and the mob are those who were his minions, including the Officers of his Kangaroo Court, his Palace Guard, and his own Headsman.

  14. Satire is a noble trade, but no easier than butchery to master. If you have never vivisected a dog, don't practice on a friend.

  15. Never dish out what you can't take.