15 Fascinating Story Starters From Nextdoor

Monday, May 22, 2023

Earlier this year, Renee wrote a post about using Nextdoor for writing inspiration. Ever since that post, I've been looking for ways to use this website as a source of creativity. I began to think of Nextdoor as the police blurbs you'll see in local newspapers (which I don't get physical copies of anymore).

However, there were a few snags. I'm not one to go to the Nextdoor app, and usually just get the notifications in my email. So, rather than adding a rabbit hole of distraction during my day (like social media does to me), I used email notifications.

All of those short email blurbs of neighborhood complaints turned into interesting story starters. And I wanted to share them with you! I didn't save ones that used specific street names or business names, as I figured it wouldn't be helpful to me in the future. So, I saved ones that were vague enough to be useful later down the road.

Some were odd. Some were hilarious. All are fantastic fodder for short stories or even lengthier works. Or great tidbits for dialogue or character development.

I've only been doing this for a couple of weeks, but here are the ones I've saved so far:

  1.  I needed to pick up a milkshake from McDonald's on my way home this evening.
  2. Around 9 am, there was a break-in attempt on my car this morning.
  3. We had a girl knock on our door at 4:12 am this morning, and she was crying.
  4. Our graveyard officers took two people into custody early Monday.
  5. Long story short: Some girl I used to be friends with over seven years ago keeps trying to get in touch with me.
  6. Not trying to be alarmist, but I found a four-inch stick vertical in the corner of our garage door and the wall on our driveway.
  7. With fraud, you're on your own.
  8. I'll tell you what I don't like.
  9. I had a window in my car broken last night.
  10. My mom was cleaning out her storage unit.
  11. What was that explosion?
  12. I really hope a copy of this video was given to the police.
  13. Let's try this again.
  14. So, we walk my dog after 10 PM every night.
  15. My neighbor, who raises fighting cocks, spread rat poison last Wednesday.
  16. Disappointed to say that our Waste Management Recycling Bin was taken this week.

I hope these inspire you as much as they inspire me! Feel free to use any of these as inspiration for your stories.

Have you found a creative purpose for Nextdoor? Share in the comments!

Nicole Pyles is a writer and PR consultant living in Portland, Oregon. Say hi to her on Twitter @BeingTheWriter.


Renee Roberson said...

Ha ha! You know I love this! I started to write an essay about the NextDoor app shenanigans last year. Might be time to revisit it. These are great story starters. We were just chatting about some of the crazier NextDoor posts the other night at a neighborhood dinner. There's so much to pull from there!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

These look just like the posts on our city's Facebook group. From that source, I would also add:
Is anyone doing anything about...

Angela Mackintosh said...

This is awesome, Nicole! I love prompts. I hated NextDoor when I lived in the Valley because it was all posts about homeless, break-ins, and politics, but they don't have one out here in the country. There's plenty of drama though! Everyone knows everything about each other just by going to the only grocery store in town.

Tara Conklin just came out with a novel, Community Board, and in an interview she said it was based on the NextDoor app!

Cathy C. Hall said...

I love this, too, Nicole! I don't check NextDoor often but I will if there's something wild going on...like when I heard there was a bear on a neighbor's porch this past weekend. First of all, I live in a highly residential area, the suburbs of ATL, for heaven's sake (but we do have an expansive woods and a river behind my house). Secondly, I have said for YEARS that I thought there were bears in my woods (my kids said I was crazy...who's crazy now?) and thirdly, I will DEFINITELY use the bear story in my current book. :-)

Nicole Pyles said...

@Renee - You definitely should! There's so much characterization alone that can happen from mining that site :)

@Sue - hahahha that's a definite sentencer starter for sure

@Angela - I'll have to check out that novel! I love community/neighborhood focused books. And you have your own NextDoor right in person, how cool is that?

@Cathy - I love how this gives proof! We get coyotes sometimes and I swear once there was rumors of a cougar spotted, and I'm like....I have no idea what I'll do if I run into a cougar if I run into one coming back from the bus!

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