- You're an orphan. Especially if you live, or have ever lived, in an orphanage, where you will have been Hard Done By.
- If you're lucky enough not to be an orphan, don't be too smug, because chances are you'll only have one remaining parent, who either Just Doesn't Understand You, has a mysterious illness, or who you get on great with - but oops, they've suddenly disappeared and need rescuing.
- You have an unusual first name, and you want to tell us all about how you got it.
- You're at boarding school. But this is no ORDINARY boarding school, oh no... It will almost always secretly be a school for witches, or an academy for assassins, or a training ground for spies.
- You're precociously clever or talented for your age.
- Your sidekick is a cat, or goose, or pig, or some other pet. Who can talk to you.
- You find yourself in a library or bookshop. Especially if it's particularly beautiful and old, or seems to have sprung up overnight, or is hidden.
- You have a nemesis. Often it'll be the school bully, or maybe a nasty teacher, but if you're really unlucky it'll be an evil wizard who's plotting to take over the world.
- You have an obsession with something. Collecting insects, drawing people's faces, counting everything you come across, being the best puzzle-solver in your town. Whatever it is, you will know EVERYTHING about it.
- People will mock you for this obsession, but it will turn out to be the one thing that helps you Save The Day.
- You pretty much only ever have one friend. Who is probably a bit odd. Or none at all. Sorry about that.
- Occasionally that friend will be a grown-up, but never a NORMAL grown-up. No, they will be an immortal skeleton, or polar bear, or genie, or ghost.
- You find yourself thinking how ordinary you are, or how Nothing Interesting Ever Happens To You. Oh, boy, how you'll wish you never had that thought.
15. And once there you've found a treasure map, or glowing pendant, or mysterious diary in the attic, or under a floorboard, or behind the wall.
16. You've uncovered a dastardly plot to pollute your town/turn your schoolfriends into zombies/destroy the world with dark magicks, through your clever detective work...
17. But none of the adults will believe you! Even if you bring them a signed note from the villain saying 'I, Baron Von Evil, will blow up the entire universe in six days' time. MUAHAHAHA.' UGH, GROWN-UPS.
18. You've discovered a portal to another world through a mirror, or wardrobe, or magic tree, or down the back of the sofa...
19. And then you've got stuck there. In the other world, that is. Not down the back of the sofa. Or if you're not stuck, you have to stay because you are the Only One Who Can Help.
20. You've never felt like you fitted in. And you were right! Because you're secretly a mermaid/wizard/seventh son of a seventh son/princess.
21. But don't be too happy about it. Because that is only the start of your Exciting But Traumatic Adventure. Be warned. Here Be Monsters...