Tuesday was the October SCBWI meeting. The mini speaker was Martha Brokenbrough, author of Things That Make Us Sic. She gave a wonderful presentation about grammar and how important it is for writers to know what we are doing.
First, avoid misplaced modifiers. The very first agent that looked
at my first manuscript sent it back with the comment, "too many modifier errors." Ugh! I actually didn't know what he meant and had to find out from some SCWBI friends. Now I know and you should too! Make sure your sentences make sense. Place modifiers right by what they are modifying. Read sentences out loud to hear what they sound like. Bad sentence-Tommy was selling dressers to women with big drawers. Better sentence- Tommy sold dressers with big drawers to women.
Martha also pointed out by the use of a very brave soul in a chicken costume the difference between lie and lay. To make it short if you use lay there must be an object connected to it.
Another big faux pas- Using two spaces after a period. In the dark ages of typewriters that was the rule. In the computer age it is only ONE space after a period.
Also, use a dictionary, it is there for a reason.