Scenes are an important aspect of the writing world. Too often, a writer will over-indulge in expressing the moment. Or, as I call it, go into "movie melodrama" in an attempt to engage the reader.
Rather intense, filled with a lot of emotion. But, is it?
Sometimes a writer will go too far to make sure the reader feels the emotion. Pushing that limit can actually diminish the moment. In the above two examples, we can feel the mother's anguish but in the first one, so much is explained and detailed, the reader is overwhelmed and basically says: She was upset.
In the second example, the reader is sucked into the story and the empathy for the grieving mother fills the reader who possibly will feel a tear well in the eye.
Take a moment to think this over; I'm talking about drama versus melodrama. Consider the evil character. Hollywood has cast its magic wand over new writers who attempt to describe the moment, the scene, the character to the nth degree, hoping the reader reels from the full impact.
IF this is your opening scene, it's over the top. IF this is a scene later in the story, why repeat what should have been revealed earlier about the character. But wait! Why would Drakor think of himself as evil? Or even bad? Sure, he's about to slit Alicia's throat, but in his mind, that would be a good thing, not an evil thing. He's going to be rewarded!
Same scene but this time Drakor is put in the light of being evil without all the details to "make" him appear evil.
That's right — one is melodrama, the other is drama. By using drama, instead of melodrama, you have allowed the reader to fill in the blanks. If you'd done your job as a writer, the character description should already be in the reader's mind and they will mentally visualize the slitted red eyes and (yes, I wrote about them) the yellow fangs. Some may even go so far as to imagine the poisonous drool.
Don't under-estimate your reader! They are intelligent. They get it! You don't need to take them by the hand and lead them down the path, describing every flower you pass. Just take their hand, and tell them they're in a garden. They'll figure it out and realize it is a path.
Consider Blix from "Legend" with Tom Cruise (circa 1985) - a great fantasy movie, by the way. In a few simple words, one can realize he is evil: May be tender, may be sweet … ain't half as nice as rotting meat. I have loved that line since the first time I heard it. Even if I'd not seen the movie, knowing Blix was a demon working for "Darkness" — if I'd been reading a book, my mental image of him gently wiping the drool from one side of his mouth would have been vivid. Blix, in my mind's eye, was not something you'd want to see during the day.
Melodrama is not a "bad" thing, but it has its place. A writer must learn the craft to know when to go over the top (if needed and is seldom used!) or just write a nice, tight drama scene which involves the reader.
Think of it this way — Melodrama is telling, Drama is showing.
Writers show which allows the reader to be involved to fill in the blanks.