I am probably missing something very simple, but when you have a present + past simple sentence like the following:
I think that he looked uncomfortable when he was reading my essay.
How do you put it into a past tense narrative? Do you backshift like you would do with reported speech?
For example, I am more inclined to say: I thought that he'd looked uncomfortable, when he'd been reading my essay.
But it seems like a heavy sentence, no? It does not seem fluent? However, if I try to use simple past it carries a different meaning to me. For example,
I thought that he looked uncomfortable when he was reading my essay.
This option makes me feel that all the actions occurred more or less at the same time (as if I thought about him being uncomfortable while looking at him reading my essay), even though in the initial sentence they did not. How do you handle cases like that?