My story is bilingual Spanish and English, revolving around an emperor and his lover.

My main character is royalty and it is fitting for him to have a long name, but he transitions from one title to the next in the story. At first he is the royal crown prince (Su Alteza Real in Spanish), then he gains the title His Majesty the Emperor (Su Majestad el Emperador). His name is Don Luis Maria de Juan León, with Don being like Mister in English.

My question is how do I properly introduce him and not confuse the audience with his names?

His wife refers to him as Luisma which is a nickname from his first two names. While his soldiers and lover will refer to him as Don Luis and Luis, respectively. Whereas he is titled and is also mentioned by his title in formal situations.

On a side note, his wife is humorously named Luisa because they are both popular names in their era. Her name is meant to cause confusion at certain times and some soldiers mention the similarity and confusion in their names.

2 Answers 2


When he is introduced in the story, and when he receives a new title, give the full title.

If he's being introduced when he walks into an important event or a throne room, it's contextually appropriate for other characters to give all his names and titles: His Majesty the Emperor Don Luis Maria de Juan León.

If he's trying to impress someone in a genital-waving contest, he can announce (or have someone else announce) all his names, titles, and nicknames. For example, Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Stormborn, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons, the Unburnt, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea. Don't overdo this or you'll end up boring the reader, or conversely if you overdo it on purpose the other characters can start adding gag titles like Lover of Bacon, Rewinder of VCR Tapes, Spiller of Mojitos, etc.

However, your character doesn't think of himself by those lengthy names. He thinks of himself as Luis, or maybe Luisma if he thinks his wife's nickname is adorable. So in your narration he's Luis, and the other characters can address him as Don Luis or Luisma or Papí or whatever depending on who's speaking.


It depends on how you introduce him.

A convenient way is to set up a prologue where other characters are speaking of the emperor, and to emphasize on his status for either awe or irony, would make use of his full title. This would also be useful to start setting up the plot.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.