amles80 (amles80) wrote in linguaphiles,

Show, don't tell - in French

Bonjour à tous. I’m trying to write a book review in French, and one thing I want to mention is that the author seems to be unaware of the “show, don’t tell-rule”… Is there a French expression/term/phrase with the same meaning I can use?

Edit to clairfy:
Okay, so "rule" was a bad choice of word, and I don't need an exact equivalent to the concept. What I meant to say was: is there a common phrase/word/expression that French people use when they talk about literature and mean to say that the writer "doesn't let the reader think for him/herself, the characters are flat and lifeless, and the story gives the impression of a user manual rather than a novel, etc" --- the Swedish phrase "bristande gestaltning" (= bad shaping) contains, roughly speaking, this and more... I just took "show, don't tell" as meaning roughly the same with less words. I mean, in Swedish, a very brief review could start with "the 'shaping' is very good/bad; for example this... and that... blah, blah..." When I have read texts in English about writing, I don't remember having read the term "shaping" (or whatever the best translation of "gestaltning" is), but I remember the phrase "show, don't tell". When Swedish creative writing teachers explain what gestaltning is, they often say something like: "... and this is what the Americans call 'show, don't tell'..." But maybe it does make sense also in English to say that "the story is badly shaped"?

The literal translation of "gestaltning" is "interprétation", "forme", "figure" but I don't know if it makes any sense to use any of the words in this contexts. (Does this question even make sense at all?) Anyway, I wrote the text.
Tags: french, howdoyousay

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