Meet Joshua Brookings, the main character in A Mighty Fortress. No, I don’t have a picture, all I have is a description and an excerpt that shows some of his personality. I prefer to leave the image of the character up to the imagination of the reader. One other note. This description is of him at the beginning of the book. His age changes as he gets older throughout the book.
Height: 5′ 11″
Physical Description: Joshua has short, straight, flaxen hair and deep, penetrating brown eyes. His smile and laugh are contagious. He spends a lot of his time out of doors, so he has a deep tan an his skin is rough from wind and sand. He is muscular and fit. Because he helped out so much on the farm, he grew quickly from being a thin, awkward boy into a fit, muscular young man.
The following is what is called an essence map. It takes parts of a characters physical description and personality and assigns different metaphors to them. It is very challenging to write!
Joshua Brookings: An Essence Map
Grace: a house cat as she jumps
Strength: as a lion about to pounce on his prey
Color: The Missouri River after a rain
Depth: The Ocean
Sparkle: Stars in a cloudless sky, sunlight on a lake
Dimples: deep as the Grand Canyon
Motion: quick as a lightning bug, firm and long lasting as a tortoise
Color: dry wheat grass, flax
Motion: fresh cut grass in the wind
Color: a chestnut horse, wood
Depth: an unexplored cave, an unsounded lake
Motion: the wind in a hurricane, the rudder of a ship
Quality: pure diamonds, a rare pearl
Loyalty: a dog
Pride: Jesus Christ, a raccoon with a new shiny piece, a kid with his first earnings
Anger: an injured dog, a wounded animal
Clarity: an untouched lake, pure white sand
Knowledge: an unsounded river, an unfilled pool
Soul: peaceful, clear mountain air
Logic: unswerving, God’s Word
And as promised, an excerpt that will show you more about Joshua’s personality:
Joshua hung back and watched his family say goodbye to Ruth before moving in to say his goodbyes.
Joshua held his hand out to Matthew. Matthew’s grip was strong and he slapped Joshua’s shoulder with his free hand. Joshua’s voice cracked as he looked into his brother’s face. “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how best to say goodbye. And thank you.”
Their eyes met and the unspoken words and thoughts were communicated. “You’re welcome,” Matthew said, swallowing hard. “Thank you for all of your help.”
Joshua nodded as he let go of Matthew. “Leslie.”
“I’ll miss you, Joshua,” Leslie said.
Joshua hugged her tight. “I’ll miss you, too. You have been a wonderful sister-in-law and hostess.”
“Thank you. You take care of yourself and Ruth on the journey. You never know what you might run into.”
“Yes, ma’am. I will do that.”
David cleared his throat. “Keep your gun handy. I doubt you’ll need it, but you never know.” He paused, looking past Joshua. “I’ll miss our talks together, even though you always did most of the talkin’.” He smiled.
Joshua smiled as he shook David’s hand. “I’ll miss our talks, too. Take good care of my sister and your kids.”
He shook hands with Benjamin, hugged his two sisters and then turned to Eliza and Robert. He squatted down and stretched his arms wide. Robert barreled into him with Eliza following close behind. Joshua nearly fell flat on his back, but managed to keep himself balanced. He whispered his goodbyes and last minute advice to his niece and nephew.
“Robert, you remember what Ruth said, help your pa and ma. You also need to keep your sister safe.” Robert’s head thudded into Joshua’s shoulder a few times as he nodded his head. “Eliza, you also need to remember what Ruth said. You are a beautiful young lady, stay close to God and you will grow up to be just like your mama.”
Eliza sniffled. “I will. Goodbye, Uncle Joshua.”