I'm a freelance editor of fiction, and I often struggle with sequence of tenses in stories written in past tense that contain flashbacks or refer to earlier events. Frequently writers either use past perfect for every single verb in a flashback (resulting in multiple "hads" in every sentence - very annoying to read) or start the flashback with a few lines of past perfect and then shift into simple past, even though they're still in the flashback. In order to be able to fix this, though, I need to make sure I understand the rules, particularly for complex sentences with lots of subordinate clauses, and I'm not sure I do. Here are a few examples of the types of situations I'm wondering about: - "Jim was happy. His ex-wife had been decent enough to him and Sara when they had told him they were involved." - "Steve closed his eyes and remembered what had happened earlier that day. When the ambulances and police had arrived, he had found himself caught up in the action and able to push aside his aches and pains. Now he was feeling them." - "He remembered how, after the last police car had pulled away, Bob had arrived at his shoulder, grabbed his arm, and hustled him to his car. Despite his moody silence as Bob had slid behind the wheel, Steve had been grateful. He was even more grateful now." Would simple past be correct for any of the highlighted verbs, instead of past perfect? I hope so - part of me thinks so - but I'm not quite sure, and I'd like to understand better. (These are all cases in which the "present," so to speak - right now, the time when the action in the story is actually happening - is simple past.) Can anyone help? Thanks!