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How to Use Flashbacks in Your Story

by | Dec 28, 2015 | Tips For Writers

How to Use Flashbacks in Your Story

You’ve been working on your story for a few chapters and you realize that a flashback would work perfectly for your plot. So, you add one in… then another… then another. Before you know it, you have a flashback per page and you’re drowning in past tense. Instead of using so many flashbacks to tell your character’s backstory, focus on using these blasts to the past sparingly and in the correct way.

Make Sure You Use Flashbacks Correctly


Using flashbacks sparingly is very important if you want your book and your writing to have a good flow. Too many flashbacks can throw off your narrative, lose your reader’s interest, and confuse your audience. Reading this blog post can help you figure out the best ways to write flashbacks into your narrative in a clear way that will further your writing rather than hinder it. Before you even begin thinking about writing a flashback into your novel, you want to make sure your present plot is strong and your characters are well developed. If your audience isn’t invested in your present plot, how do you expect them to be interested in a flashback? Making sure you have a strong framework for your plot is also important when it comes to fitting in flashbacks. Your plot needs to be solid so that your flashbacks don’t confuse things.

Another very important thing about flashbacks is making sure they are obvious. In order to make a flashback obvious and easily distinguishable from the rest of your story, you have to change tense. Shift from present tense to past tense when you go into your flashbacks. You also want to make sure that your flashback radiates the old adage, “quality over quantity.” Every line of your flashback should give the reader details about your character’s past. No filler is needed here. Using too many flashbacks that are too long and filled with useless information lends to a book with poor flow, and you don’t want that!

If you are having trouble adding in your flashbacks, reach out to me at Write One Publications and I can help you figure out how to use flashbacks to your advantage!

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How to Use Flashbacks in Your Story