Cliche Writing Exercise

Using the following three cliches throughout, take 15 minutes to write a short story.

  • “The game is up”
  • “Don’t eat your heart out”
  • “I need someone I can count on”

Here’s mine:

Lance clamped his teeth down on the smoldering cigar that emanated into his cramped office. Pistols adorned a gallery of plaques that covered the only wall without dull grey filing cabinets. The stack of papers on his desk lurched toward him, threatening to overtake the last bastion of space left for him to write up his report on the Mulhaney/Roberts case.

The cigar drooped in his mouth and would have plunged onto his crisp black pants had it not been for a knock on the door. A tall blonde woman strode in before he could mutter, Yeah?” “My name is Jane, Jane Heartthrob. Are you detective Lance Corporal?” She repeatedly smoothed out her dress with twitching hands, nerves running from head to toe, while waiting for Lance to offer his cool and calculated response.

“That’s me,” he replied. “Out with it, something must be on your mind.” He used every ounce of self-control to keep his voice level and at peak masculinity. Something had struck him . . . he was quickly falling in . . . love?

“The game is up I’m afraid,” Jane replied in a weak, whimpering voice. “My dead husband’s debts have grown too large to pay off witht he interest always rising. They’ve begun to take things from the house to remind me how helpless I really am. I, I, just need someone I can bank on.”

“OK Miss Heartthrob,” replied Lance. “We can help you, but we’re gonna need details, records, and your full cooperation.”

“Oh, oh, my, my, you’re just splendid,” gasped Jane. “I knew I could count on such a wonderful man as you Mr. Corporal!”

“OK, OK sweetheart,” stammered a reddening Lance. “Just don’t, errr . . . eat your heart out . . . or,” he paused and mumbled, “Or was it mine?” Lance had clearly botched the climactic moment. It was at best a 3 out of 10.

“Excuse me?” asked a puzzled Jane.

“Nothing,” sighed Lance. “Let’s just start at the beginning. How about discussing it over dinner tonight?”