One thing that I think is the hardest thing for me to do is description and action, so I need some honest critique here. This is something that I wrote just now. It's not a real great piece, but it was an exercise. If you can read it and then let me know whether it had enough description or action and that it flowed well, I would be grateful and deeply appreciative. Thanks so much.
Rated PG-13 for theme and language.
" "Johnny Ray Branagan, you get your sorry ass back in here right now!"
The shrilling voice grew dimmer as Johnny moved away from the house past the barn and down to the creek. Why did I have to be born into this hellhole life? he lamented as he went to his knees at the water's edge staring into the clear liquid as if it held another world inside it. Water frothed as it flowed over tiny rocks with determination. It was so clear and inviting, but he knew that it was as cold as ice. Just like his life, appearances were definitely deceiving.
Something tiny caught his eye. He leaned closer over the water to see it ignoring the wet spots that appeared as his knees sank into the mud along the bank. What is that? he queried Why, it's a matchstick.
The matchstick floating on the water facinated him as it weaved to and fro wherever the current took it. Upon closer examination, he could see a tiny ant hitching a ride on the matchstick. What a clever little ant, he remarked marveling at the tiny piece of flotsam as it floated out of his sight. He became so fascinated with the fleeing insect that he jumped up and followed it without even thinking.
It seemed like a few minutes and yet it seemed like forever that he kept moving slipping and sliding in the mud while never letting the ant-made matchstick-boat out of his sight. Whenever it turned at a branch of the creek, he turned with it. On and on, they traveled together as he pushed weeds and tree branches out of his way.
Suddenly a rush of current swept the matchstick boat away, Johnny tried to follow, but he was running out of breath. Bending over to get his second wind, his red cheeks puffed out as he drew in a breath and exhaled with a gasp. His hands felt cold as he touched his knees, and he suddenly realized that his pants were dirty from the mud. Crud! Momma's gonna tan my hide! his eyes grew wide as he noticed that the sky was growing dark. That's odd, it was only late morning when I left the house. How far have I gone?
Looking around, he didn't recognize anything. The trees were unfamiliar to him, and he couldn't see any landmark that registered as being close to his home. He could only wonder how far he had traveled, and while it should have frightened him to be a ten-year-old in a strange place, it only made him happy. There wasn't any screaming or hitting going on. He wasn't the object of his mother's anger as she blamed him for her getting pregnant and ruining her chances at a better life. He wasn't having to play whipping boy to his father's drunken rages. He was free. Free!
He didn't know where he should go from here, and he definitely didn't have a plan for what he would do in the future. Yet he was happy all the same because his little matchstick friend had helped him to do what he wanted to do all along. He had escaped from his nightmare life, and now the future was up to him.