Irony in writing

Writing Irony into Content Isn’t Easy… And I Mean It

Irony can be there for you, but you must treat it right for it to give you what you seek.

If you heard five claps before the ‘but’, you were in your teens in the 90s, and you are my people.

Irony is my friend.

I used to be known as the one who always had the ironic answer at the ready when needed.

That was a long time ago. I have done a lot of living since then and am not so cynical.

Plus, I don’t think I am as smart as I was back then. I am smart in other ways now, I hope.

Every piece of irony was a notch on my material post, just waiting to be stitched into writing.

But then something happened—happiness happened. I no longer felt the need to be the intellectual or witty one who would turn every spoken sentence into an ironic edge, just ready to poke out and prove a point.

I became me, and yes, irony was still a part of me, but I learned how to use it better and when to use it to say what I wanted to say with a side dish of emphasis.

Maria Gregoriou writes with this in mind now. She isn’t as smart as she once was in her 20s, but she is wise enough to know that less is more when it comes to irony. She hits them with it when they least expect it and makes sure it will give her a home run.

Read on and go with me on a trip that will show you the irony of it all and how to use it in your writing.

Just saying the opposite

This works wonders when your audience understands that you are really referring to the opposite of the meaning you are giving. Confusing? Imagine not getting the inside joke.

The point here is to be sure that what you are saying will be perceived as irony so the right meaning will come through and that you place it just right so it can be taken with a pinch of salt—no one wants to be taken too seriously. Still, someone could take your irony seriously and personally and then be offended. Unless this is what you are going for, try to avoid it at all costs.

Twist a phrase your way

Picture it: advertising saving energy by saying not all the lights are on upstairs. Did you just call people who leave all the lights on in their homes a bit dim? If this is what you were going for, as explained above, then you hit the nail on the head.

This use of irony plays on the subconscious and makes people think. Saving energy would save them on energy bills and help save the planet. Who doesn’t like a win-win situation?

Letting them in on a secret

We all love a bit of gossip—come on, you do too—and we all love to think we are among the few who know. The thing is, we need to understand the weight of the gossip to appreciate it.

If we want to understand this in actual ironic terms, this would be under the Dramatic Irony column.

Imagine showing someone driving late at night while texting on their phone with the copy, ‘He will meet his maker in just a mile?’ The people behind the creative and the reader are in on the macabre predictions and how heavy the situation is, while the driver is just going about his texting business. 

Get the Cosmos on your side

The universe is a funny old thing. I think it just messes with us sometimes just to have a laugh. If I were a whole universe with so much time on my hands and so many people to mess with, I think I would have a go of it myself.

Here comes the irony, and courtesy of the Cosmos, when a weatherman tries to make his way to work.

‘He couldn’t see the tip of his nose on his face from the heavy hail hitting his window shield, making his arrival to the studio late. We didn’t need him anyway; we knew what the weather had in store.’

This is all from me and my guide to using irony in your writing, for now anyway.

I do want to leave you with the anthem to irony from when I was very much in my ironic mode. Good old Alanis Morisette and her song Ironic. My favourite line is ‘It’s meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife.’ Go have a listen and find your own. 

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