Tip 1: make it clear the character is going back in time.
Give the character a trigger – he sees an object, smells a scent, or experiences an action.
For stories written in past tense, use past perfect tense a few times when entering the flashback. Once in, switch to past tense until near the end of the flashback, then switch to past perfect a few times. After leaving the flashback, return to past tense. (Limits cumbersome past perfect.)
For stories written in present tense, use the simple past in the flashback.
Tip 2: Write the flashback so it:
*Serves a purpose – shows what shaped characters into who they are now or shows past story world.
*Engages the reader.
*Is limited to key moments.
Tip 3: Write ending sentences that transition the reader and character from the flashback.
*Use another trigger – abrupt or easing.
*Change verb tense as mentioned above.
Tip 4: After the flashback, the reader must see the character or story world in a new light as they read forward in the present.
1.Don’t use flashbacks as a cop-out to avoid writing difficult present story.
2.Don’t include more than one or two flashbacks.
3.Let go of a merely interesting flashback from a character’s biography.
4.Use flashbacks only after the reader’s engaged in the story and knows the character (after several scenes).
5.Make sure a flashback advances the main story.
6.Make sure a flashback scene, like a main-story scene, has goals, motivations, and resolutions.
7.Give long flashbacks their own chapter or scene.
8.Hold back flashbacks until the reader must know the information – keep the suspense going.
9.Have flashbacks follow exciting scenes so the reader will want to return to the main story.