I love talking craft—character development, plot, point of view, pacing, setting, dialogue. But hey, when a reader can’t get into a scene because the grammar is funky, the writer needs to get back to basics.
Grammar. Got to know it. Got to use it right. Stop dangling those participles. Move those misplaced modifiers into place. Find agreement between every subject and verb. On split infinitives and prepositions at the ends of sentences, these days I hear we’re allowed some leeway. In Things that Make Us [Sic], Martha Brockenbrough sets us straight and fills us in on the reasons why such rules were adopted in the first place. Thank you, Martha!