And the contest is over!
I want to offer everyone who participated my heartfelt gratitude. I received well over a hundred suggestions, and a great many of them were fantastic. In fact, I’d love to use some of them in other books (and of course, if I do so, I’ll contact the individual in question to make sure they get their proper acknowledgment as and when it happens).
Ultimately, my choice came down to picking not just a name I really liked–as I said, there were quite a few of those–but also one that just really felt like it fit nicely with the mood, the theme, and the style of the writing for The Goblin Corps. It needed to feel like a name that the people in the book would come up with, and that slotted in as smoothly as though it had been my choice from the get-go.
So, with no further ado, congratulations to Richard, whose suggestion of “The Charnel King” just felt absolutely spot-on to me and Morthûl both. Richard will be seeing his name in print in The Goblin Corps, and will be receiving said book free once it’s released next year.
Again, thank you so much to everyone. I had a lot of fun doing this, and I may well do so again; I hope, if I do, you’ll all be willing to give it another go-round.
Okay, folks, here’s the skinny.
In my upcoming novel, The Goblin Corps (to be published by Pyr Books) one of the important secondary characters is Morthûl, the undead king of the vile nation of Kirol Syrreth. It is he whom our protagonists, a squad of goblins, serve. An extremely powerful sorcerer, he’s described in the book roughly as follows:
Garments once of the greatest royal quality, now worn and tattered beyond hope of repair, shrouded a body unimaginable by any rational mind. Mummified flesh creaked like hardened leather with every move the Dark Lord made. The left side of his face was covered in that not-skin, frozen in a perpetual rictus grin; the right was nothing more than naked bone. The hideous, sickly yellow glow was most conspicuous in the eyes—but it leaked as well from the nasal cavity and between King Morthûl’s teeth. Worms and maggots, beetles and roaches and less savory creatures all crawled about and amongst the Ghost King’s clothes and patches of long-dead flesh, wandering between exposed bone and protruding ribs, every so often dropping from the empty eye-sockets like some twisted parody of tears. A full head of raven tresses completed the horrific image, trailing from beneath a tarnished silver crown.
So here’s my problem. In the earliest drafts of this novel, Morthûl’s primary title was “the Lich King.” He had other, more generic sobriquets–Dark Lord, Master of the Iron Keep, and so forth–but “Lich King” was the primary.
Of course, as many of you know, that’s a title now heavily associated with World of Warcraft. So I need a new one. Right now, I’m going with “Ghost King,” and that’s my fallback, but I don’t think it’s quite as strong. I’m considering “Witch King,” but I’m not sure that’s quite right, either.
So I’ve decided to make it a contest, and throw the issue open to the audience. Here’s how it works:
What I Need
Your job is to send me suggestions for a new title for Morthûl. It can be almost anything, though it needs to be more interesting than “Dark Lord” or anything that generic. It doesn’t have to suggest his undead nature (the way “Lich King” or “Ghost King” do), but if it doesn’t, it must at least suggest his nature as an evil and magical power. It doesn’t have to include “King,” though it must somehow convey the fact that he is a ruler of some sort.
What You Must Know Before Entering
You are giving me permission to use your entry, and full rights to it, merely by submitting it, even if you don’t win. (See below for ways that might happen.) If you’re not comfortable with that, don’t enter.
People to whom I am related, or who I know personally (that is, offline) are not eligible.
How to Enter
Go to my contact page and fill out the e-mail form. The subject line must be changed to read “Name of the King Contest”. Entries with any other subject, or entries that do not come via the web site, will not be considered.
You may include as many suggestions as you like. Please make sure that you’re using an e-mail address that you check regularly, and expect to have for some time, because I’ll need it to contact you if you win.
I’ll be accepting entries up through March 3rd.
What You Can Win
If you win the contest–that is, if I select your suggestion–you’ll win the following.
1) Your name will appear in the acknowledgments of The Goblin Corps.
2) I will send you a free, signed copy of either The Goblin Corps (though you’ll have to wait a year and a half, until it comes out) or The Conqueror’s Shadow (which I can send you as soon as the contest ends). Entirely your choice.
What if Multiple People Submit the Winning Idea?
If I select a title that multiple people submitted, the winner will be the person who first suggested it.
What if Nobody Wins?
It’s possible that nobody will send in a title that grabs me, and I’ll wind up sticking with one of the ones I’ve come up with (or something else I come up with in the future). But it sucks to have a contest that nobody wins, right? So if I don’t select anybody’s submission, nobody wins a mention in The Goblin Corps acknowledgments, but someone will still get a free, signed book. In that case, I’ll select the winner randomly from everyone who entered.
What if I Have Further Questions?
You’re welcome to e-mail me through the contact page.
I’m looking forward to seeing what you folks come up with.