Kitten or Lion? A Character Development Technique

I saw a great photo affixed to my hairdresser’s license today.  The picture showed an orange tabby kitten looking in a mirror that reflected back the face of a lion.  It occurred to me that this could be a great question to ask when you are flushing out a character for a novel.  For example, how does your protagonist see themselves—as an innocent victim or a fierce fighter ready to take on the world?  Does this self-image vary between interactions with different people?  Does his or her personality change during the course of the novel? 

After you have answered the above questions, dig a little deeper:

How would the character’s parent or spouse describe your protagonist? 

More importantly, how do you, the writer, see your protagonist?  Have you captured that personification on the page?


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