Usage and Grammar

Q. I am writing a nonfiction text in which I refer to the title of a novel written by a character in a novel. The fictitious title happens to be the same as the actual novel’s title. Throughout my nonfiction text I have been italicizing actual book titles. What do I do with the fictitious title? Do I put it in quotes or do I italicize it? Many thanks!

A. If the fictitious novel has been fictitiously published (that is, it is not a fictitious manuscript awaiting fictitious publication), Chicago style calls for italics. However, if the confusion of having identical actual and fictitious titles results in a lot of awkward explaining and signposting, you might consider quotation marks for the fake title.