Writing Books/Do you know?
Ok, Jeremy again. I have a few questions for you, Dorothy. By the way, I'm in the middle of reading your book Secret Sin of the Mothers, and it is fantastic! Now I am circling the words that I don't quite understand and learn to use them in the right context. But you said before I need a strong command on English Grammar. I am 17 years old and in High School so how would Ito get that strong command on English grammar? It may sound ridiculous for someone my age but I would really love to become a great writer. Maybe as good as you.
First let me thank you for your high compliment on my first book. Since it was my first, there are many improvements I will make if there ever is a new edition. For the second, third and fourth, I read a marvelous little book called, "Getting The Words Right," by Theodore Cheney. The things I learned from him made these books much better than the first. This will help with your editing.
You can get all the rules of English grammar if you can find an old 12th grade English grammar textbook...the older the better. Even when you use bad grammar for certain characters it is necessary that you know the correct way things should be said. Probably on the internet you could find an old grammar textbook. I have been out of school for so long I don't know if they teach proper grammar now. I have heard that schools do not consider correct grammar important. I hope I am wrong. But I have noticed that many graduates of universities do not know correct grammar. Since you still in high school, you can ask your English teacher to help you.
For learning to write great prose read Michener. Read everything he ever wrote, but especially "Chesapeake." Each writer has to discover how he writes best. Some use outlines and some publishers or agents require them. I do not use outlines. I never know what is going to happen until it happens. Often I am as surprised as the readers. I sit down and write by the seat of my pants.
Stay in touch, Jeremy, and I will give you all the help I can.