One of the things I really like about both L5R and 7th Sea is the 20 Questions they have in the Character Creation section of the book. The questions in both games are similar, but also different - geared towards the world that you'll be playing in. You don't have to answer the questions either, but if you do you'll get a more well rounded view of your character.
Two of my favorite questions from the list of 40 between the two games are "How will your Hero die?" and "How would your Hero's parents describe your Hero?"
Today I want to talk about the second of those questions. I love this question for one simple reason: it's asking you what someone else would think of your character. Sure, it's asking about their parents, but that's kind of even better. Not only does it give you a chance to give an outside view of the character, but it also lets you define something about your character's parents.
If your character is top of their class, and something of a prestigious duelist, but your parents think they're a lazy no goodnick then that can say a lot about either the character, the parents (and thus a person with a formative position over the character,) or both. The same if your character's parents couldn't be prouder, all the while the character is a scourge that steals from old people and children.
But the idea of an outside perspective is also good to keep in mind when making a character. How would their friends describe them? How would their enemies? How would the shop keeper that sold them those healing potions? Obviously you don't have to answer those, but it's a good way to get a different view of your character.
Take a look at who you're playing from the outside. Who are they? Maybe play that up, all the while keeping who they are on the inside consistent.
Give it a try. Take a peek. See if they're who you think they are from the outside.