From the morning email: “Hi Mary! I’m Teri I’m from California. I’m your biggest fan. I’m a novice writer. What is the most important advice you can give to someone who is beginning to write a novel? And why? I hope you are having a great day. Thank you very much!”

Study grammar. Look up any unfamiliar word before using it. Be careful about spelling. Get the basics solid.

Read, read, read. Read 19th century classics. Read the very best. And read trashy airport paperbacks. Learn the difference. What’s literary popcorn and what’s a six-course sit-down dinner with a white tablecloth?

Read good nonfiction. Read psychology and sociology and economics and history.

Read biographies and memoirs. Get out of your own head.

That’s good for a start.