Just a few things that make me chuckle (and/or tear my hair out). You'll find the same advice pretty much anywhere, but in case you missed it, you get it here too.
Bizarre and Bazaar are two different words. I've actually seen this misused several times in manuscripts. I don't judge. I laugh, but I don't judge.
Their, there, they're... enough said. You're a writer. Get it right.
"It's" means "it is." "Its" is possessive. That's all I'm saying.
The dreaded double space... I'm a little behind the times. Recently I mentioned on Twitter that I heard you are no longer allowed to double space between sentences. Look, I'm doing it--it looks weird. Aside from the cramped-togetherness, I'm bewildered I hadn't heard of this until now. Several people responded to my tweet and said EVERYONE is demanding this change, agents, editors, EVERYONE. Since I want to be part of this community, I'll give it a try. It's hard. Each time I press the space bar after a period I want to do it twice. Each time. Ack. Ack. Ack.
"I love this Alot" You'll never misuse "a lot" again. And if you twitch every time someone else uses "alot," you can think of this and smile.
The semicolon. I take it as a personal insult if someone misuses the semicolon. I've always been a semicolon lover; it's my favorite form of punctuation. If you don't know how to use them, don't use them. If you're clear on the rules, then have fun. But, again, use them sparingly (and don't read Herman Melville, the man is a semicolon fanatic, and your own writing will be swayed by his influence--believe me, I learned the hard way). Two rules for the semicolon: 1 use it to separate two complete sentences of a connected thought without a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or), or with a transitional phrase (of course, however); 2 use it to separate items in a complicated list (ie dates, or in which you use commas within the items).
Surprisingly, Wikipedia has a pretty good entry on semicolons right here. (Hope you noticed I used the semicolon twice in that paragraph, and I used them correctly.)
Since I'm on a roll, I might as well mention two things people always look for. Easy ways to tell a great manuscript from an ok manuscript.
Adverbs. Stay away. They clutter sentences and don't convey as much as you might think. The reader should be able to tell what's going on in the scene without the adverbs. If you absolutely need the adverb, see if you can rewrite it without it (show don't tell). A few adverbs is fine, but I don't want to see ten on a page. Adverbs are much more powerful if you use them sparingly.
Dialogue tags. I'm guilty of it too. I used to think dialogue tags were awesome! Use as many as possible and never use the same one twice. WRONG. Use different dialogue tags sparingly. If you only have one "he/she said" in every dozen (or heck, even every other one), you're using too many dialogue tags. Stick with "said" and "asked." Replace all of your dialogue tags, go back and read it. If the reader can't tell what emotions the character is portraying without your fancy tags, you need to rewrite the scene (show don't tell). As with adverbs, dialogue tags are going to be much more powerful if you use them sparingly.