What’s the difference between Latin American and Castilian Spanish?

I’m a writer and I have a decent enough grasp of the Spanish language (I’m not fluent, but I can read a lot of it) from study and teaching myself and studying Latin for the past three years, but I want to be fluent in both Latin American and Castilian Spanish, though, no matter how long that I’ve been studying, I’ve been unable to find an accurate, simple description of Latin American versus Castilian Spanish. Are they similar, just with different slang, such as British versus American English?

I know that one comes from Spain while the other is from Latin American countries (hence the term, "Latin American" Spanish), but what I really am not getting is the difference between their grammar and vocabulary. Is there any?

And anyone who speaks Latin American Spanish, can you understand what someone from Spain is saying, or vice versa? Some people say that you can and others say that you can’t. I personally haven’t personally been able to understand all Latin American Spanish, but that’s because I’m not quite fluent yet and don’t speak it enough, mostly writing.

I speak some Spanish (Castilian) but want to start studying Latin American Spanish because I’m setting more of my stories in a Latin American culture as opposed to Spanish or New Mexican and want to have an idea of what I need to study. Is it universal? Or will I need to get a Latin American Spanish dictionary? And how long does it take for one to learn Latin American Spanish after studying Castilian for a little over two years?

Thanks in advance! 😀

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