Tags: Writing Story Structure
Flashbacks can help illuminate characters' back story, but risk pulling the reader out of the narrative's forward momentum. A poorly integrated back story pulls the reader out of the "fictive dream" and disrupts the story.
According to Sol Stein, an effective flashback is used to illuminate the present of the story rather than provide details about the past. It should be presented as an immediate scene rather than in summary. And, it must have a great first sentence that tugs at the reader.