Using scare quotes in novel manuscript?

Sometimes, I feel like the narrator’s voice might call for the usage of scare quotes, but I don’t remember if/when I might have seen them in novels, since they tend to be used a lot more in nonfiction and editorials.

Are scare quotes used in the novel format? Are they used in the same way as nonfiction and editorials? Wouldn’t they feel bit confusing visually due to similarity with dialogues using quotation marks?

If you’re American, use " for dialog and ’ for scare quotes, so they aren’t confused with one another. Do the opposite if you’re British.

You can use curly quotes for dialog and straight for scare, too. I never use scare quotes myself, preferring italics instead.


Is there a formal rule in style guides regarding whether novel manuscripts should use italics or ’ for scare quotes?

There are probably a hundred style guides. Pick one, but it’s your choice regardless.

“Double quotes for dialog.” — ‘Single quotes for thoughts.’ (Unless the publishing language / publisher / target audience / general accepted usage etc. demand something else, see other answers!) Though italics are also often used for inner monologue, I think. Whatever you do: Stick to it. Don’t mix straight and curly quotes. Use the dialog punctuation for so called “scare quotes”.

Personal preference: I’d stay away from large chunks of italicized text. For legibility reasons and I save that for emphasis and proper names.

(EDIT) Inside of dialog: “You call that ‘helpful’ advice?”