Free Character Writing Prompts #20: Neighbors

Knock, knock! Time to check out these 10 character writing prompts about neighbors. There are many wonderful neighbor characters that have stuck with us through time. A neighbor does not have to do much to contribute to a moment in a story, perhaps dropped a tiny joke here and a bit of plot or theme there. In many episodes of the brilliant sitcom, "Seinfeld," Cosmo Kramer, Jerry's neighbor, was often able to steer the plot of the week in an interesting and entertaining direction, simply due to how wild and crazy his life could be. By playing around with the quirky fellows and females from down the hall or street, you can add multiple interesting touches to the journey of your protagonist. 

Free Character Writing Prompts #20: Neighbors

1. It seemed like no matter how often you tried to stress how important fences were or how much you liked your quiet time, he was always coming over looking to get involved with your family. Whether it was borrowing a lawnmower or asking advice on a new car, he didn't seem to want to take a hint that you wanted him gone. He seemed intelligent enough but maybe he didn't understand that neighbors didn't have to necessarily be buddy, buddy. Then again, maybe he simply wanted to get out of the house for a few minutes here and there. Why isn't he able to take a hint and what are some of the things he has been able to ignore?

2. He was quiet and he mostly kept to himself, which is why you couldn't quite understand how he would throw such raucous parties almost every Saturday night. One time, when you went over there, you could barely recognize him, he was so completely hammered. The next day when you tried to bring it up, he couldn't remember it at all and promised he'd keep the volume down the next time. It was even louder the following week. What are some of the ways in which his personality changes from when he's sober to when he's drunk?

3. She was literally the girl next store throughout the years of you growing up. Now over two decades later, you owned your house while she owned hers. She was inexplicably single and you wondered if you'd be able to turn a long-time friendship into your second marriage. While she had grown up and matured, you always saw her as that cute girl that you loved hanging out with as often as possible. Even though kicking around a soccer ball had been replaced by tea and a conversation, you cherished those moments with her sunny personality and her interesting outlook on life. Does she look at you as the boy next door or as just another acquaintance?

4. She seemed like a wonderful old lady and you wouldn't think twice about helping her clean her gutters or cut her grass, but you were not interested in the slightest at going into her house. It was literally overrun with cats and you wondered if all the strays in the neighborhood hadn't shacked up there assuming it was some kind of cat hotel. Whenever she invited you over for an afternoon snack, you volunteered to drive her to a local coffee shop, just so you could avoid the domesticated zoo inside. You wondered how a woman could let her house literally go to the cats. What is a cat-filled day like for her in the fur-covered wilderness that is her house?

5. No matter what time of day or night it was, he was always doing something strange in his yard. It might involve using a wood chipper at two in the morning or testing out his motorcycle engine in the middle of the day. Regardless, he certainly didn't seem to follow any time of schedule whatsoever. When you went over to complain to him he seemed somewhat unhinged, possibly from the use of drugs and he actually yelled at you to leave him alone. Since that time, you've referred nearly all complaints directly to the police. Why is this neighbor of yours so strange and will the conflict between the two of you ever come to a head?

6. It seemed like every night, you heard a new girl going into his apartment without fail. He seemed like a pretty mind mannered fellow, but he seemed to know exactly what to say to get these women to come over. The music wasn't too loud and the women were always polite, but the passion was too overt to be ignored. In addition, you always saw him bringing out a recycle bin full of empty glass liquor bottles. You hoped that he was being healthy, especially in the department of diseases! What is the story of this passionate man and how does he have such a way with the ladies?

7. While you never had much a meaningful conversation with her, it seemed like she was a yoga instructor. At least, that's what you could gather from the highly-sitar-based music that seemed to blare from her apartment at all times. The one time you got a look at the place, there were beaded curtains hanging down from several walls with yoga mats laid down everywhere. She seemed to be extremely calm at all times and you wondered if she worked or if she simply stretched from dawn till dusk. How did she become such an easy-going yogi and why?

8. You've never been introduced to her but you can't help but wonder how she's still living there year after year. On multiple occasions you've seen an eviction notice on her door, but within a few days it's been taken down and new tenants have never moved in. You imagine that she's barely scraping by and at the last second figuring her finances out, but for all you know, she could just be lazy when it comes to paying. Every time you see her, she's completely frazzled and seems to be on edge. Why does she have such trouble making her payments and what is it that makes her seem so nervous all the time?

9. When he moved in, you couldn't help but notice how much high tech equipment his movers seemed to be bringing in. Upon going over there to welcome him to the neighborhood, you accidentally discovered that he seems to be creating a chemical substance downstairs. You aren't sure if it's as dangerous as methamphetamines or as harmless as toothpaste. The mad scientist who runs the place immediately took you inside to explain away the equipment, though you didn't believe a word this lab-coated man had to say. He had wild eyes with a look of sad desperation. What is this man making and why is he doing it in the middle of your neighborhood?

10. After seeing her on the small screen for many years as a talk show host, you never in a million years expected her to be living next door to you. She actually even came over to introduce herself and you were so star struck you could barely utter a response. She spoke loudly but carried a calm, cool demeanor otherwise. Her star had faded a bit since her heyday, but she was in the area attempting to make a sort of a comeback with a locally filmed cable show. It amazed you that someone who was so seemingly important could be living that close to you. What is her day to day life like in a new city and will her comeback be successful? 

Did you enjoy these character writing prompts? Check out a collection of 1,000 of them on Amazon!  

Done with Character Writing Prompts about Neighbors? Go back to Creative Writing Prompts.

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Written by Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.
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