“The First 250” An Analysis Project


NicoletteElzie.com // The First 250 Project: Analyzing Bestsellers

As the title suggests, the objective of The First 250 Project is to critique and break down the first 250 words of wildly successful and bestselling novels in the industry.

The purpose of this project is to help writers with their own first 250 by deconstructing the first 250 words of bestsellers in order to figure out what works, what doesn’t, where to insert voice, where to world-build, where to add tension, where to add the stakes, etc.

As we all know, the first 250 are crucial. They’re part of that first hook that will keep both agents and our audience reading past the first page of our books. It’s my hope for this Project that there will be an open discussion as I critique these novels and that as a community we can collaborate on what we think works in order to help each other reach our dreams of publication.


Every Friday I’ll be posting a new analysis. Here are some of the titles to look forward to in the coming weeks:

  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I’ll see you back here next Friday as we jump into our first title!

Keep Reading and Keep Writing,

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16 thoughts on ““The First 250” An Analysis Project

  1. This sounds great! I have to admit I’ve only read one book on the list, but I’m looking forward to learning about the others and perhaps finding something to read in the future.

    1. Thanks! I’m excited to share my analysis each week. That’s totally fine/great that you haven’t read them. You’ll have a fresh/unbiased perspective and be able to bring that to the table in the discussion next week! I’m super excited 🙂

    1. YAY!! Your a writer too so I can’t wait to get your opinion in the discussion next week! I look forward to it. I think this project will be fun as we (writers and non writers alike) try to come together and talk about what works and doesn’t and how to recreate that for other writers as they pursue publication. IDK, this is just such a passion for me, I’m super excited to open the floor for discussion.

      1. Yay! Thanks for being so supportive Kat! It’s your enthusiasm and that of a few other people that are really helping me stay on this course to talk about writing consistently. So I just want to thank you for your continued support and just being awesome! Lol >.<

      2. I am glad you feel supported, because I am always rooting for you and whatever you want to do! You are giving me the same feeling whenever you stop by my blog and I just wanted to give that back to you 😀 ❤

    1. Awesome!! I am very excited for it too! I’ve already started analyzing the first title and breaking it down by its parts and I can’t wait to pull it all together! I really hope to be able to bring together a community of people who want to look at these titles and more of them as we work through these in the future as we try to figure out how to recreate what will work for us in our own works as we pursue publication.

  2. This is such a great idea! When I’m rewriting my books, the thing I spend the LONGEST on is the first chapter – and especially the first few paragraphs, because they are EVERYTHING. If you’re just picking up a book in the bookstore and the first chapter is boring description, you’re not going to want to buy it.

    Looking forward to the series 🙂

    1. OMG YAS!!! *rolls onto floor and dies in agony* The first chapter KILLS ME!

      Literally I’ve rewritten mine SO many times it’s not even funny. I’ve actually put a rule on myself that, for the time being, I’m not allowed to revise it until I’m done rewriting the book and revising the last half of the book because if I DONT do this, then I’ll spend the rest of my life rewriting that first chapter! Lol.

      I totally agree with you that if a book opens with description, I’m not going to want to buy it. If I’m feeling in the mood for it, I MIGHT read on but the book literally has two seconds to catch my attention if it opened with boring description to redeem itself. If not, back onto the shelf it goes.

      For me, the FIRST thing that grabs me is voice. If there is a lot of voice I’m more likely to keep reading even if I’m confused about premise etc. (I have a tendancy/like to pick up books and go into them completely blind sans premise/blurb/anything.)

      I’m glad you’re looking forward to this series! Definitely feel free, or rather, definitely join in on the discussion with your thoughts on Friday’s selected text! I look forward to all input and other thoughts/analyses! ^.^

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