Thursday Writing Prompt No. 15

Paramount Building in New York City

The Paramount Building in New York city. The colors were muted because it was early evening, but they didn't convey the atmosphere I wanted, so I converted the photo to black and white. The photo was taken with a Nikon Coolpix S210 and I used the Topaz B&W filter plug-in for Photoshop for the color conversion.


Wow, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing the Thursday Writing Prompts for 15 weeks now. They say that doing anything for three months makes it a habit, so about three weeks ago these blog posts became an official habit. I hope they’re a good habit, and that they’re helping you jump-start your writing.

So, what’s up for this week? I’ve done some recent vocabulary stuff, so I won’t dump a fresh load of words on you today. I’ll let you use this photo of the Paramount Building for inspiration. This Art Deco building was designed and built during the 1920s, and it was originally a theater. In the mid-1960s the theater closed and the building was converted to office space. According to New York Architecture, many famous actors and actresses appeared at the Paramount, including Mae West and Fred Astaire.

Now, I haven’t been a fan of Ghost Hunters for nothing. They’ve been to their fair share of theaters to search for ghosts and apparitions, and they haven’t always returned empty-handed. So it’s entirely possible — if you believe in that sort of thing — that ghosts might be attached to the Paramount Building. Well, actually, it doesn’t matter whether you believe in ghosts or not; after all, this is fiction that you’re writing, so you can invent whatever you want. Just remember to make sure that your creations behave according to the laws of the world that they inhabit. I’m not talking about running red lights or paying sales tax, either. If you have a creature with certain abilities, you shouldn’t arbitrarily turn off those abilities to make the story work. But you know that already, right?

So, here’s the assignment: I want you to pick one of the actors or actresses who appeared at the Paramount Theater and have their ghost come back for an encore. Of course, once the ghost gets there it finds that the theater is gone and office space has replaced it. No doubt filled with those cubes, too. What does the ghost do? Who does it haunt? It’s your story…


4 thoughts on “Thursday Writing Prompt No. 15

  1. My great aunt – Agnes Craig Divine appeared at this theatre. She was a concert pianist and she travelled from her home in Scotland to the USA frequently; on this occasion she arrived on the Lusitania. She wrote home that she didn’t intend to go back on the ship as the ‘German U-Boats had followed it all the way’. On its return journey the Lusitania was blown out of the water with a great loss of lives. My great aunt never paid for any of her numerous trips, playing the piano in exchange for her first class ticket.

    • I’m glad that your aunt didn’t get on the Lusitania. She was smart to think about what the Germans might do, even to a passenger ship. Stories like that always give me a bit of a shiver.

  2. According to this record the Paramount wasn’t built until the 1920’s. The Lusitania was sunk on the 7th May 1915 – 5 years at least before the Paramount was built. I found this strange and wonder if there was another theatre by the same name at that time, possibly standing on the same site. One wonders.
    If you go to Lusitania on your browser it shows clearly the First Class Lounge and the piano which my aunt played on is at the centre of the floor.

    • All I’ve been able to find so far is that the Paramount was built on the site of the previous Putnam and Westover Court buildings. The American Guild of Organists’ New York City Chapter has some history on the Paramount at Perhaps there was another theater by the same name. I may do some more research on this; now you’ve got me wondering about the history. Off to the electronic card catalog!

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