strain for effect

strain for effect

To attempt conspicuously and unconvincingly to produce some kind of dramatic or artistic effect, as in a speech, performance, piece of writing, etc. I just felt like she was straining for effect from the beginning of the play right through to the very end. It's so embarrassing reading my old journal entries and seeing how hard I strained for effect back then.
See also: effect, strain

strain for an effect

to work very hard to try to achieve some effect. The actors were straining so hard for an effect that they forgot their lines. Don't strain for effect so much. The authors of this drama knew what they were doing, and it's in the lines already.
See also: effect, strain
References in periodicals archive ?
Perfs collectively strain for effect, and Sexton's penchant for adopting childlike manners guarantees that this Ludlow is completely unlikable.
When stories stress their own importance or attempt to shock (Layton, Sarah, Fagan) they strain for effect. Only two (Rosenblatt, Ravvin) venture into fable or fantasy, and the anthology remains quite conservative.
Cava's worst mistake is the use of son Paco (Edward James Olmos), a would-be writer, as narrator: His comments are obtrusive and strain for effect, and Paco has no function in the story.
Songs about an imagined reprise of Gulf War, the Heaven's Gate death cult and ecological disaster all strain for effect and their love of full-blown melodrama soon reaches overkill, heightened by Andrew Montgomery's burnt to a crisp operatics.