- Frankenstein is a novel written by Mary Shelley about an experiment that produces a monster. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was first published anonymously in 1818 when she was twenty-one. Mary Shelley was talking with her future husabnd, Percy, and two other writer-colleagues, Lord Byron, and John Polidori, and they decided they would have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for weeks about what her possible storyline could be, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what she had made. Frankenstein is written in the form of a frame story that starts with Captain Robert Walton writing letters to his sister. In his letters, he tells Victor Frankenstein's story, which includes the monster's story. By doing so, Shelley creates a nesting doll effect that allows the readers to see the three characters' perspective of the one larger story.