I always dreamed of being a stock character. I knew when I turned fourteen, I'd apply to the Stock Character Academy, the most prestigious academy for stock characters dating back hundreds of years. That damsel in distress? Their own creation. The dark, brooding boy with a heart of gold? That original stock character is now the leading professor of the Brooding major. Then to round off that character, you can minor in Hearts of Gold. I remember when I was twelve, all the boys were majoring in Supernatural Creatures, and then adding minors like Brooding or Blindly Loyal. There was a supernatural influx of books out there and hey, that's where the jobs were.
But what about me? I'm Juniper Fier, daughter of two stock characters that are no longer in vogue. My mother studied Grimm Princesses (she had macabre interests), where most of them ended up dying or never finding a happy ending. Not so popular in the 1970s to 1990s although in the 2000s, a lot of books started doing darker renditions of fairy tales. But by then, my mother was too old to play a young princess so she became a tutor for the younger stock characters. My father studied Professors, minoring in Crazy But Brilliant, which was briefly quite lucrative for a time, when wizarding books and other fantasy-based school books featured a wide assortment professors. So that income held us over for a good time.
When I received my acceptance letter to the Stock Character Academy, located on the island of Make Believe, I leaped around my house screaming. But when I read I needed to declare a major during the first semester, I froze. I had no idea what I wanted to study. I had always focused on simply getting into the academy. So I selected the one major most people enter and transfer out of: Confused, Angsty Teen.
But you see, even though I don't know what kind of stock character I want to be, I know I want to be the best. Some people have asked me why I wanted to go to the Stock Character Academy when I could have applied for the Dynamic Character Conservatory, where everyone's characters are ever-evolving and full of complex feelings. Maybe because stock characters are ubiquitous—everyone knows them. But the best part is you don't have to go to Dynamic Character Conservatory to make new characters. Some of our most memorable and original characters are stock characters.
And I'm going to be one of them.