How to Write a Flashback – 5 Tips to Amaze your Readers!

How to Write a Flashback

Sometimes in life, we encounter situations that leave a lasting impact on our psyche, which leads us to remember something in a myriad of ways. We often dream about it, we see it in our imagination and we can easily visualize it. For some people, this experience can be so vivid and intense that they can see it happening in the present and it comes to them as a strong powerful vision. This phenomenon can be described as a flashback, this is an incident that reoccurs vividly in the mind. Flashback can startle, shock, and give anxiety to the person experiencing it, and in the context of a book can be a powerful tool to aid in character development. Join us today as we discuss how to utilize flashback as a useful storytelling tool to help in conveying your masterpiece to the masses. In this blog, we will learn how to write a flashback.

The usage of a flashback

The most important thing to understand about using a flashback and how to write a flashback is that you shouldn’t be using it much at all. What we’re trying to say is, that a flashback is a powerful tool that should be used sparingly otherwise it loses its impact and causes the opposite effect. It becomes a detriment to the story if overly used. For example, if a character conveniently has a flashback and remembers something useful to get themselves out of a difficult situation, every single time they face adversity it cheapens the character development and makes the whole flashback sequence a deus ex machina, which refers to the idea that the author’s have been engineering to favor the character over others. This is also referred to as a plot contrivance, so these are some of our basics creating a flashback and we shall elaborate on them further.

5 Tips to Write an Amazing Flashback

Amazing Flashback

1. Avoid plot contrivances

Stop trying to engineer events that solve hopeless situations.  If you wish to create an adversarial condition for your protagonists then create reasonable ways to solve them too. if you cannot do this then you will fail miserably in your goals as a writer. Hence the plots that you do create will have contrivances that cheapen the impact of the overall story. Creating solutions to problems that make sense, requires a certain logical approach to storytelling, cheap gimmicks, and easy ways out of situations that are presented as impossible odds is a great way to have your story not being taken seriously. You can also hire a ghostwriter to create an engaging flashback for you.

2. Create a trigger point

Flashbacks are events that occur when writing them. Thus a character can only believably experience a flashback if something caused them to experience it and push them. If for example, the protagonist encounters something that they cannot come to terms with. Therefore it traumatizes them or startles them enough.  Things such as the antagonist or a series of events within the world cause them to experience a great deal of stress such as the loss of a loved one.  These are all ideas for flashback sequences. And as such utilize it accordingly.

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3. Only use it sparingly to drive the plot forward

You use flashback sequences when you wish to drive the plot forward, not when you just feel like it might be a nice idea and seem fun. Flashback sequences are important elements of a story. Hence they can be a powerful tool to aid in character development such as helping in explaining character motivations. For example, some antagonists might have a reason to act the way they do such as a backstory of mental problems, abuse, and trauma. Good writers will show this in a  flashback sequence adding more depth to the character. Make sure that every single move you make while writing your story is willing to add to it and won’t take away. Excessive usage of flashbacks is a great way to make the audience disregard your story completely.

4. Keep the flashback short

When learning how to write a flashback you must know how to keep the flashback sequence short. Keep it short because no one wants to read about a flashback sequence that extends forever. As well as taking up an entire chapter, This gets dull very fast and ruins the pacing of the story. Do not try to create a whole backstory with a flashback sequence. This comes off as a cheap way to add character development.

Thus it makes the audience feel as if you are forcing them to care about a character. That they otherwise don’t care for. Write a flashback with the appropriate length of it. It should be about a few pages or half a chapter-length at most. Not too long just short enough to make the readers want more. Never try to sabotage your book by showing your hand to the reader.  Therefore going all out with long drawn-out flashbacks.

5. Research actual flashbacks

Spend some time researching how actual flashbacks work in people. Talk to people and learn from them sometimes inspiration comes in ways we don’t expect it to. A good way to learn about writing is by experiencing the world.


Creating a flashback is a long and complex process as getting it just right is very demanding.  Therefore any mistakes made in writing a flashback will result in the cheapening of your story. Thus damaging the reception your novel receives from critics and audiences alike. Creating an outstanding flashback requires you to work on your skills and get inspiration from real-life events ideally. We hope that our tips helped you in learning how to write a flashback.

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