I was talking with a friend of mine about her book. I noticed a few moments of melodrama—something I’ve done before myself. For me, and for many other writers, melodrama, especially in dialog, is an indication that we don’t know our characters well enough. They slip into a stereotype rather than existing as a real person. This isn’t a bad thing for a first draft. In fact, it’s something that shouldn’t be worried about until after you complete your first draft.
Once you complete the first draft, you’ll have a much better idea of where you’re going with the story, where the story wants to go, and who your characters are. It’s at this time that you go back and revise to tone down the melodrama.
Once you know the whole story, you can give us less of it.
Readers only need a little bit of information. They’re very adept at filling in the gaps and picking up on subtleties. When they do, they feel better; they feel rewarded for paying close attention. They’ll never have that opportunity if we resort to melodrama.