Friday, October 4, 2019

Six Questions for Dyane Forde, Editor, Lost Pen Magazine

Lost Pen Magazine is a free, Christian art and lit magazine that publishes poetry, short stories (1,500-3,000 words), flash fiction (100-500 words), articles (1,000-3,000 words), art, photography, movie and book reviews (500-1,000 words), and testimonies (500-800 words). Issues are themed. Issue 2 is inspired by Isa. 61:3 (‘beauty for ashes’): “Let’s show the world real people struggling with real issues, but also that our hope is in the Lord!” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Dyane Forde: As mentioned, Lost Pen Magazine is a free, Christian, digital publication. It was born of the Christian Creative Nexus (CCN), an online support and promotion resource for Christian creatives that I started over a year ago. At one point, the idea to expand the concept from a website to a digital publication came to mind. The intent was to build a wide-reaching publication with a reputation for excellence and heart—evidence that Christians can be highly creative and produce top-notch work. In the real world, the general population doesn’t seem to expect much from us, and I’d like to contribute to changing that perception.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?


  • God-centred content. I believe that God is the original creator and the source of creativity. I want to feature work that reflects that in its content and purpose.  
  • Whether or not the submission guidelines have been followed. This is important because there’s no time to be figuring out how to make content fit the magazine’s parameters or to be going back and forth with contributors to get things right. Laziness, or just not bothering to read the guidelines, is a big pet peeve. After all, the purpose of the guidelines is to make the process as smooth and painless as possible. That said, I want the submission experience to be a teaching one for those who have never submitted before. Submitting can be intimidating, and a lot of creatives suffer with anxiety or low self-esteem, so the idea to create a supportive, understanding space where contributors can feel valued and gain confidence was important to me. 
  • Quality of the content. If I like a piece that needs more work, I will inform the contributor and give them a chance to work on it. There are other times that I have recommended posting something that was good but not quite right for the magazine on the CCN blog rather than publishing it in the magazine. 

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

DF: When people don’t read or follow the submission guidelines. It’s one thing when someone is new to the experience and requires a little guidance. It’s another when someone asks questions that are clearly explained on the submissions page or when they confirm that they haven’t bothered to read them. It gives me the impression that they aren’t serious or that they don’t respect the publication.

SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraph(s)/stanza(s) of a submission?

DF: Nothing special, to be honest. I’ll look at a piece as a whole and then decide if it’s something I can publish or not. I mean, sometimes stories start off slow but pick up not long afterwards. If something is good but not right for the magazine, I might suggest publishing it on the CCN blog instead.

SQF: You also offer the Focus Writing Services. What would you like authors know about this program?

DF: Focus Writing Services, my freelance writing and editing service, is a separate entity from the magazine and the Christian Creative Nexus. FWS is a business, whereas LPM is what most believers would refer to as a ministry (service for God’s kingdom). Editing and coaching are my passions, and they allow me to be both creative and analytical. There’s something exciting about helping writers take their work from a raw state to something that is complete and finessed.

SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

DF: How about: When is the next issue due out?

Response: Issue 2 of the Lost Pen Magazine will be released in the winter of 2020. The exact date will be posted on social media and the Christian Creative Nexus website.

Thank you, Dyane. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.


  1. Thank you for the opportunity!

  2. Great questions Jim and thank you Dyane for sharing, I particularly liked the way you explained your turn offs to submissions, you got your point across in an eloquent way