Dragonchilde is the handle I chose for myself way back on November 3, 2002. I started writing on November 4, and had over 16,000 words that first day! I hit 28K on November 6. I finished on November 20, 2002.
I also apparently invented NaNoWriYe. (Seriously, I had no idea.)
Since that fateful November, I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo every year. Some years I’ve won, others I’ve lost. My current win record is 50k in ten days. I don’t recommend that, by the way. I couldn’t use my right hand for a month thanks to carpal tunnel.
In 2003, I volunteered as an ML for the Macon, Georgia region, where I helped build a strong region of great writers, including the most precocious and fun young writer I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. She started college, this year. (You know you’re getting old when the people who started NaNoWriMo at 12 go to college!)
In 2007, I got the single most exciting phone call of my entire life. The Chris Baty, yes, the author of No Plot, No Problem, who created the event that had absorbed my life for nearly five years, called to offer me a job. See, I’d been volunteering as a moderator under the esteemed Cybele May, forum goddess extraordinaire, who had decided to retire from modding. Chris Baty wanted me, little old Dragonchilde, to be the new Forums Moderator for OLL!
To my credit, I didn’t scream. (I did after we hung up, though.) My answer then was the same as it has been every year since, when asked if I’d like to renew my contract: ”You couldn’t pay me to say no!”
Last month, I got another call, this time from Tavia Stewart-Streit, and she had a very-nearly-as-exciting question to ask me: “Would you like to be a full employee of the Office of Letters and Light?”
And thus, the Lead Forums Moderator was born. No longer to be merely Dragonchilde, adjunct contractor and East Coast representative of the Office of Letters and Light… no, now I am to be Heather Dudley, Lead Forums Moderator and wielder of great power!
As the great Uncle Ben once said, though: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
What does this mean to you? Well, strictly speaking, not much. I’ll still be the Woman on Deck in the forums. I’ll still be in the Eastern time zone, in my hometown in Georgia. I’ll still be there for you to ask questions of, and I’ll still be there to let you know when you’ve posted in the wrong forum. I’ll just be doing so under my real name. Dragonchilde will live on, as she always has, but you’ll see me around the forums under my full name: Heather Dudley.
Really, though, most of the change is behind the scenes. I pledge that I will continue to ensure the event forums on all of our websites are unique, friendly, and the stellar place they’ve always been for writers worldwide.
I will tell you one thing about all this, though: You never really stop squeeing that you got to beat Chris Baty in a word war in a Berkeley coffee shop during November.
So tell me, my friends, what’s your fondest memory of the NaNoWriMo forums?