Writer to Writer: Phil Machi

Writer to Writer is a brief feature I’m doing in which I email a writer and ask a quick question about writing. Simple enough, right?

Alright, so writer to writer is expanding in scope to not just be about novelists, or journalists, or books, but to be about anyone who engages in an act of storytelling. Last week I shared a story about meeting Bruce Springsteen for a picture, and he’s certainly a writer in every sense of the word, book or no book.

This week, I’m Sharing a brief conversation with a comic book author/artist because I started getting curious about how the medium changes the creative process. I think that inherently the biggest problem with any writer, or artist is having that spark of creativity and knowing where to start in crafting for whatever particular medium you’re working in.

So, this week I reached out to author, illustrator, director, producer, and everything else, Phil Machi, whose latest work Orientation is available now in Bookpeople, as well as online here.

Anyway, check out his site, here’s the question:

“Do you always come up with your comics as images first, do you develop words/concepts first, or is it a mix of both?”

And he answered.

“I would say it’s the story first. But of course there are always exceptions. Mostly though, I am thinking of images to properly execute the story. But sometimes I will imagine a character design or an environment that I think would look interesting and then I work backwards to see if I can fit that in someplace.”

So it boils down to telling stories. I wondered where dialogue fit into the equation, and asked a follow up. He clarified the order for me.

“It’s usually story/basic dialogue, visuals, better dialogue. I was changing dialogue for Orientation right up til the very end.”

So there you have it. It all boils down to story and the words. At least a skeleton of words before it becomes visual. Generally. Pretty interesting, right? Be sure to check out Phil’s site, and the many different projects he’s got on there.