Every month I research a different author’s life story and share the most interesting facts I can find in a blog post. Each author biography blog post is accompanied by a more detailed video with complete stories. You can read below or watch by clicking the play button on the video embed above.
This month’s featured author is Mary Shelley and when I started researching her life story I was completely shocked by the drama and the scandal. If you had told me a month ago that Mary Shelley was a radical, a teenage runaway, and in love with a married man I would have asked you one question: is this fiction or reality?
You can’t make this stuff up.
If you want the straight facts, read the article below. If you want my interpretation (with some humorous asides), I recommend the video version.
#1 Mary Shelley Came From Famous (sometimes infamous) Parents
William Godwin (1756-1836) and Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97) were the parents of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later to become Mary Shelley), though their stories began long before the birth of their daughter.
Godwin was political theorist and novelist most famous for his controversial work entitled An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) in which he rejected all forms of government, arguing that with focus on rational thinking human beings were capable of living without laws or institutions.
Wollstonecraft was an early champion for women’s rights as evidenced by her somewhat unorthodox lifestyle and her once popular work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). She believed the only superiority men had over women was purely physical and argued for equality of education, sexuality, and independence.
Before meeting Godwin, Wollstonecraft had poor experiences with men that further emboldened her social beliefs. First, Wollstonecraft was raised by an improvident, abusive father from who she often defended her compliant mother. Wollstonecraft entered adulthood firmly against the institution of marriage, but she did have a lover who would also ultimately disappoint her when he abandoned her, and their infant daughter Fanny, for another woman.
When William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft met in 1797 they became lovers and Mary soon found herself pregnant. Neither believed in marriage, but Wollstonecraft argued that the present state of society made it a necessity. William Godwin became stepfather to Wollstonecraft’s daughter, Fanny, and awaited the birth of his first child, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later to become Mary Shelley). She was born August 30, 1797. Unfortunately, her mother would die not twelve days later due to puerperal fever (caused by infection of the uterus after childbirth).
Mary Godwin would never know her mother, but would spend countless hours pouring over her published book on feminine rights and visiting her graveside. Mary created a sort of pseudo-mother from the analysis of her texts and would never accept attention or affection from her soon-to-be stepmother (see fact #2). William Godwin was left to raise Mary and his stepdaughter Fanny alone.
William was so grieved by the death of his wife that the next year he published a shocking and honest tell-all about her life entitled Memoirs of the Author of ‘The Rights of Woman’ that was decidedly too much for turn-of-the-century society. The book chronicled Wollstonecraft’s out-of-marriage liaisons with himself and with her American lover Gilbert Imlay, the man who had fathered her first child and with whom she had a tumultuous romance. It is clear Wollstonecraft was passionate about Imlay, though his own passions often wandered (a curse to follow in the life Mary Shelley as well). Wollstonecraft even attempted suicide after a betrayal by Imlay through romantic dalliances left her heartbroken. These revelations in her biography proved more detrimental to the family reputation than Godwin ever intended. Society largely displaced Wollstonecraft’s prized work on female emancipation after the publication of this biography, calling her a ‘prostitute’ and assuming her reformist arguments therefore null. The family reputation would never be the same.
#2 She Had a Wicked Stepmother—or did she?
In 1801 William Godwin married next-door neighbor Mary Jane Clairmont. Clairmont had two children from previous relationships, Charles and Jane, and described herself socially as a widow, though in truth she was never married to either of the fathers of her previous children. William and Clairmont had been having liaisons of their own and soon found themselves expecting a child. As a result, the two quickly married.
Clairmont was an unwelcome addition to the three-person family Mary had shared with her father and half-sister Fanny. Mary had what she herself descried as, “an excessive and romantic attachment,” to her father and did not look forward to a distraction in his affections. She now not only had to compete with another woman in William’s life, Mary Jane Clairmont, but also with two new step-siblings and a new half-brother.
Young Mary Godwin (future Mary Shelley) refused to accept these new additions and was often the cause of strife or discord among the family. From a young age it was clear that Mary Godwin was keenly intelligent, something encouraged by her father, and highly spirited. While her half-sister Fanny more easily folded under the rule of their stepmother, Mary simply refused to be agreeable and tensions throughout their home and adolescence were undoubtedly high. Mary would be sent away to stay with family friends twice during her teenage years under the guise of needing different airs for her health, though no doubt also an attempt from her father to better stabilize relationships at home. Years later William’s wife, Mary Jane Clairmont, would still claim that he loved his daughter more than her.
Mary Godwin would later exagerate how difficult life with Mary Jane Clairmont may have been, painting her the picture of a wicked stepmother you would find in a Cinderella story. In actually, it seems Mary was as much of the problem as her stepmother was and two would simply never see eye to eye. Even years afterward her leaving the house, Mary would blame many an argument she had with her father on the probing of her stepmother (thought this is likely untrue).
#3 Mary Shelley Ran Away from Home at Age 16… with a married man.
The Godwin home was a revolving door of literary achievers, poets, philosophers, and intellectuals, many who sought out William Godwin’s friendship as a well known name in their circles. One such disciple of Godwin’s work was young Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Shelley was the son of a wealthy man and destined for a substantial inheritance, but went rebelliosly against the tones of his privileged upbringing. He was a radical, a reformist, and an atheist (a controversial philosophy that got him expelled from Oxford university in 1811). Though he idolized Godwin’s social philosophies, they disagreed on how to bring them about. Godwin pushed for slow and peaceful change while Shelley, in his youth and restlessness, had no qualms about inciting violence to achieve what he believed were lofty ends to his means.
At the time Godwin and Shelley met, Godwin was in dire need of funds as his business ventures had taken a plummet with the family reputation. Shelley, being the son of a wealthy land owner, was a way for Godwin to retrieve those funds. Godwin believed that it was the duty of those with excess to support those with what he considered as just or righteous endeavors. While their friendship was built upon similar philosophies, it cannot be neglected that some of their relationship was determined my money and Shelley’s access to it.
Godwin would encourage his children to interact with their idealist visitors and so it came that Mary, her stepsister Jane (later called Claire), and Percy Shelley would go on unchaperoned walks together. One of their frequent destinations was the grave of Mary’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, at St. Pancras Churchyard. It is likely that it is here, near the site of her mother’s grave, Mary Godwin and Percy Shelley became intimate—emotionally and physically—while stepsister Jane stood by at a respectful distance.
Percy Shelly, 21, held no secrets from Mary, 16, about the fact that he was already married. In 1811 he had eloped with a friend of his sisters’, Harriet Westbrook. Their marriage quickly disintegrated. Perhaps it was Shelley’s frequent attempts to seek out like-minded people, people that were often women, or perhaps it was the flame of young love which is often quickly snuffed out under the winds of reality. It seems Percy did not learn his lesson the first time and fell just as quickly in love with young Mary Godwin. He was taken with Mary’s intensity, her intelligence, her inherent wild nature that was at times passionate, at times desolate. He wasn’t going to let the fact that he had a wife and young child dependent on him at home (not to mention another baby on the way) get in the way of his new love.
To the complete shock and surprise of William Godwin (who believed the two youths’ excursions were nothing more than friendly), Percy Shelley announced he was in love with Mary and planned to take her abroad. Godwin was extremely distressed by the news and concerned about not only Mary’s reputation, but also that of her sisters’. Godwin knew that the scandal of his daughter running off with a married man could ruin not only her opportunities in life, but also stain Fanny and Jane’s future conquests. Furthermore, he knew his daughter was very young and very passionate and feared what life for a sixteen-year-old girl would become if she made this choice. He tried to keep them apart, but Jane acted as interloper between the two young lovers and on the 28th of July the two stepsisters slipped out of the house in black silk gowns and met Shelley in a hired coach. The restless threesome ran away together.
But what was in this for Mary’s stepsister Jane? Jane likely joined the pair for the sense of adventure and escape as she also considered societal expectations too extreme. However, it is also clear that Jane too felt some interest and attraction towards young Percy Shelley.
The trio traveled to France, Switzerland, and then, running out of money, back to England. It was in England that Percy took his two new girls to the home of his wife Harriet to get more funds for their liaisons. Harriet eventually gave the twenty pounds, but she was more quick to decline Percy’s casual offer for her to simply join the group.
#4 Mary Godwin Was Estranged from her Father
When Mary, Jane, and Percy returned to London they were refused entry into the Godwin home and even ignored when William saw them in the street. This was a shock to Mary, who held her father in such high regard and to who she perhaps thought she could do no wrong. In Mary’s mind, she was living as her parents had once done, using their past behavior and perhaps a warped sense of their published works as an excuse for her own behavior. William Godwin, on the other hand, found much difference in the affairs of himself and Wollstonecraft compared to that of the young and often irrational love of Percy and Mary.
Meanwhile, Percy had unreconciled differences with his own father and the trio quickly found themselves ostracized from the comforts of home and society. Percy, cut from his father’s purse strings, was falling deeper into debt. He had to financially support his wife Harriet, their daughter Ianthe, and his new son Charles, as well as support a now clearly pregnant Mary and her stepsister Jane. Shelley split his time between his legal family and his chosen one, often on the move to avoid creditors.
#5 She Was in A Love Triangle (kind of?)
During the group’s financial struggles in 1814, Mary Godwin and Jane Clairmont were forced to live in extremely close quarters with little to distract them from one another. The two always had a competitive spirit between them, fighting for affections from the men in their life and attempting to prove their literary superiority above the other. This tension was only increased when the two joined Percy in a tripartite relationship. It is unknown whether or not Jane Clairmont and Percy Shelley were sexually intimate, though it is often speculated upon. The friendship between Percy and Jane was extremely close and Percy felt in many ways responsible for her. Mary recorded many instances in which she felt Jane was competing for Percy’s attention or stealing his time from her whenever possible. It did not help that Percy was extremely interested in Jane, often praising her, nor that he did not hide this fact from Mary.
The trio had a favorite book at the time, The Empire of the Nairs, featuring an imagined community where men and women had equal rights, sex was free and uninhibited, and nudity the norm. Mary may have found this sort of material fascinating to read, but less practical in reality. Percy, however, often pushed the women around him to the extreme. He once suggested Mary bathe naked in a French stream, an offer she declined.
More so, Percy encouraged her to develop a sexual relationship with his friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg. Mary seemed uncomfortable with the idea as she ultimately decided against it, but she may have strung Hogg along just enough as to maintain his and Shelley’s interest. She also did not find Hogg particularly attractive. Mary was pregnant at the time and initially delayed Hogg’s request for sexual intimacy by using the birth of her child as the reason they should wait. Hogg would never gain access to a physically intimate relationship with Mary Godwin, though they did remain friends. Later in life, Hogg would become common-law husband with another of Mary’s friends, Jane Williams.
Jane Clairmont eventually left the group for a short time, which was a temporarily relief to Mary Godwin. She wanted to use this time to increase her closeness to Percy Shelley and further connect them as a pair.
On the day of Jane’s departure, a lucky financial break came as well. Percy’s father agreed to pay off his debts and allow him a yearly income of $1000. This also let Percy off the hook for the financial care of his wife and two children (Harriet, Ianthe, and Charles). He was now free, through the very privilege he once despised, to travel and live the artist’s life in comfort.
#6 Mary Shelley’s Step-Sister Had a Love Child with Lord Byron
Jane Clairmont (who later took to calling herself Claire Clairmont) was competitive with Mary Godwin concerning literary success, or lack thereof. They both felt pressure to perform well in the industry their parents were known for and live up to the family name.
In the spring of 1816 Jane wrote to Lord Byron, the most popular poet of the day, seeking career advice over the course of several letters. Eventually he agreed to meet her. Upon meeting, Jane propositioned Lord Byron with sex. Perhaps it was due to his charm or perhaps it was just an attempt to get in his good graces for furthering her career. And though he initially declined her offer, he later accepted and was said to remark, “If a girl of eighteen comes prancing to you at all hours—there is but one way.” Jane would quickly discover she was pregnant with Lord Byron’s child not long after their initial affair. Jane was eager for the poet’s attention, though Byron was notoriously promiscuous and notably untethered. Perhaps Jane thought she could be the one girl to change his mind. If so, she would be wrong.
Jane introduced Lord Byron to Percy and Mary and the four became close friends. They even traveled to Switzerland together and shared many literary discussions, readings, and meanderings. It was in Switzerland among this group of friends that the idea for Frankenstein would first be formed.
The Shelley trio returned to England without Byron at the end of the summer. This was an attempt to avoid further scandal for both Lord Byron, who was already known as promiscuous, and to keep Jane’s pregnancy as secret as possible from their usual social circles. In fact, the group even chose not to live close to London in order to keep Jane’s pregnancy a secret from Godwin family. Jane began calling herself “Mrs. Clairmont” and delivered a baby girl named Allegra in January 1817. Though she had welcomed a healthy child into the world, life would get no easier for Jane Clairmont.
Jane sent baby Allegra to live with her father in Italy, yet she quickly regretted this decision. She missed Allegra terribly and wanted desperately to see her child. Unable to go to Lord Byron directly with her request, Percy Shelley worked tirelessly on Jane’s behalf to convince Byron to let mother see child. Byron had lost all interest in Jane and was enjoying the company of numerous other women. Byron allowed mother and child to see each other temporarily, but Allegra returned to his care shortly thereafter. He enjoyed the Shelley group’s company, but refused to let his child be raised in, as he put it, a godless household or by what he may have considered careless parents. Instead of raising the child himself, he sent Allegra to a convent. It was in this foreign place, away from her mother and family, that she died of typhus in 1822. She was just five-years-old. Jane would never completely recover from this loss.
#7 Mary Shelley Was Expressly Driven in Her Literary Career
Mary Shelley’s early life may be filled with scandal and disarray, but that did not deter her zeal for literary success. Shelley was an incredibly dedicated writer, self-educated, and often worked on numerous projects even outside her own. She worked extensively with Percy Shelley, and he with her. Their works were extremely collaborative. For years the shared a journal and would read and recite their work to one another for feedback. Mary Shelley also worked quite extensively for Lord Byron, particularly on Don Juan. It is clear the impact these three literary giants had on one another’s work, there are elements of each creator in one another’s numerous works. Later in life, she would work diligently to publish a biography of Percy Shelley after his death (see fact #9).
Three publishers rejected Frankenstein before it was accepted by the Lackington Company. It was published January 1, 1818 and authored anonymously. However, its opening pages housed a dedication to William Godwin. This made the unknown author’s political leanings clear and made the work automatically unpopular for much of conservative society and numerous reviewers. However, Sir Walter Scott, the author of Ivanhoe, enjoyed the work. He called it a worthwhile but juvenile attempt and looked forward to more, as said in a letter to the Shelleys. Sir Walter Scott made one glaring error in his address. You see, he thought Frankenstein was the work of Percy Shelly. He was wrong. Mary wrote back to ardently correct him.
In the 1820’s Frankenstein was dramatized into a popular play called Presumption, a production which would inspire numerous spin-offs performing regularly until the 1850s. It is in these performances that the name of Frankenstein first switched to the monster instead of the scientist. If you have not read the work and are only familiar with the Hollywood version, you may believe Frankenstein is the name of monster. It is not. It is actually the opposite! However, the dramatized version stuck and many still make the mistake to this day.
Mary Shelley is also the author of numerous novels, biographies, short stories, and even travel diaries. Common titles include: The Last Man, Mathilda, and Lodore.
#8 Mary and Percy Shelley Married Just Weeks After His First Wife’s Suicide
In the fall of 1816 two suicides would shift the lives of all Godwin and Shelley family members forever.
In October, Mary’s half-sister Fanny Godwin killed herself by an overdose of laudanum. She had suffered from depressive tendencies, as did her mother before her, and likely felt her loyalty divided between her family and her runaway sisters. Fanny’s death was kept as quiet as possible to prevent adding yet another scandal to the Godwin family legacy.
Just a few months later in December of that same year, Percy’s wife, Harriet Shelley, committed suicide by drowning. She was pregnant at the time.
In Harriet Shelley’s final note, she asked a favor of her husband. She asked that he not try to take custody of their two children, but rather let them be raised by her sister, a guardian she thought a much better fit that Percy and Mary. Percy Shelley would not honor this last request of his late wife.
Mary felt grief for Harriett’s death to be sure. However, she and Percy were quick to take Harriet’s death as an opportunity to finally wed—and they wasted no time in doing so. The wedding took place just weeks after Harriet’s death, the ceremony was held at St Mildred’s church in London on December 30th, 1816. Their hasty marriage would further distance them from common society as the rush to the altar seemed to many in poor taste.
Percy hoped the marriage would allow him to take in his other two children. Mary hoped it would reclaim contact with her father and end their estrangement. Mary would get her wish, but Percy would not. He failed to gain custody of his two children by Harriet, Ianthe and Charles. The Lord Chancellor deemed his social and philosophical views unfit for raising children. Ianthe and Charles were raised by foster parents.
Society did not take kindly to the Shelley relationship, even though it was now a legitimate one. The convenience of their marriage after Harriet’s death and the known truths of Percy and Mary’s intimacies outside of marriage, as well as their reformist, radical views, did not make them welcome in many social circles. Even later in life when her life took a more conservative bend, Mary Shelley would never fully recover her reputation.
#9 Mary Shelley had 5 pregnancies before she was 25.
Just one of her children, Percy Florence, survived to adulthood.
Mary Shelley’s Pregnancies and Children in Chronological Order:
- February 1814. A girl. Born premature and died two week later.
- August 1815—pregnant again. A boy. Named William Godwin after Mary Shelley’s father. Died in Italy in 1818.
- 2nd September 1817. A girl is born. Named Clara. Died in Italy in 1818.
- 12th November 1819. A boy is born. Percy Florence Shelley. The only child of Percy and Mary to survive to adulthood.
- 1822 Miscarriage. Italy.
A very trying and formative period in Mary Shelley’s life was the death of two of her children within a year. At this time, Percy and Mary were living and traveling in Italy with their two current children, William and Clara. The had moved to Italy for several reasons. It offered a lower cost of living for one, was meant to be good for the Shelley’s health, their friend Byron lived there at the time, and it also removed them from their fear that the English government would declare them unfit parents and remove their children from their custody.
Young Clara, no more than a year old, contracted dysentery. By the time the young parents realized anything was truly wrong they were too late. The rushed to Venice to find a doctor, but it was not to be. Clara died in her mothers arms. Some months later, their young William contracted worms. This was a minor illness and the family made plans to relocate to a cooler climate, believed at the time to aid healing. However, the delayed too long. Like many others in Rome when the swamps rose, little William contracted malaria. He died within five days.
Like many relationships after harrowing times, Mary and Percy’s bond became strained. Mary grew cold and despondent, riddled with incredible grief and depression. Her father feared she would form after her half-sister Fanny and her mother before her and attempt suicide. It was Mary’s writing and work that kept her moving forward. Her steadfastness was rewarded with the birth of Percy Florence Shelley in 1819. Percy Florence would be the only child of Mary Shelley to reach adulthood.
In 1822 times took a turn once again for Mary. First, she suffered a miscarriage which almost killed her. Second, she was shocked by the sudden, unexpected death of her beloved husband, Percy Shelley. Percy had been visiting friends, taking his passage in a small boat. On his return journey a thunderstorm caught the small crew, capsized the craft, and drowned the three men aboard. It took days for Mary to even realize something had gone wrong. When he did not appear at home, it took almost two weeks for his body to be washed up on shore. Her worst fear was realized. She had lost her husband and four children before she was even twenty-five.
#10 Mary Shelley Struggled to Build Lasting, Meaningful Relationships
After Percy’s death many of the friendships Mary considered dear were tested. It fell to Lord Byron to look after her immediately following her husband’s death, but their friendship was changed. Whenever Byron talked with Mary, he seemed to be expecting a response from Percy. The two also disagreed regarding Mary’s future and that of her only surviving child, Percy Florence. Byron negotiated with Percy Shelley’s father regarding finances for the young widow and her son. Sir Timothy Shelley would not help Mary, but agreed to support his grandson if Mary would release him from her custody and allow Percy to be raised by a guardian of his choosing.
Byron urged her to accept the offer, no doubt of the same thinking he had concerning his daughter by Mary’s stepsister who he sent to a convent, but Mary sternly disagreed. In many ways, Percy Florence was all she had left. Mary desperately need money and decided to move back to England in the hopes of convincing Sir Timothy to support them. Byron offered to pay their fare, but his well-intentions were ruined when fellow poet Leigh Hunt stirred trouble between the friends. Hunt showed Mary some letters in which Byron had spoken more freely about his thoughts on the Shelleys. She was devastated by what she read and refused his aid. Byron later tried to pay her passage through Hunt without her being aware and, while Hunt agreed, he would ultimately pocket the money for himself.
Back in England, Sir Timothy agreed to give Mary and Percy Florence some small amount of money if she agreed to keep the Shelley name out of print, delaying Mary’s work on a biography about her husband and preventing the publication of his less controversial poems. Mary accepted, knowing her father-in-law was unlikely to live much longer. Attention from Sir Timothy only increased after the death of his first heir, Charles—the son of Harriet and Percy. Mary used the attention from Frankenstein and accompanying plays to earn meager sums for the rest of her short fiction and future novels, though she would never make enough to live without Sir Timothy’s subsidies.
In England it seems Mary led a lonely life. Though she had some friends, she was ultimately alone. She was described as solemn, quiet, and fond of making sad remarks at parties. More so, Mary’s youthful dalliances automatically excluded her from normal social circles. While it was perfectly acceptable for men to talk to such a woman, their wives could not consider it. Lasting relationships were difficult to come by. Even her last friend from her youthful days, Jane Williams, betrayed her trust and the two had a falling out. It is clear the friendship meant more to Mary than it ever did to Jane, who had been gossiping about what she considered Mary’s inadequacies as a wife. Mary was absolutely crushed by the loss of her last ties to life with Percy. At this point, Jane had become common-law wife to Thomas Jefferson Hogg, the same man who once propositioned Mary at the encouragement from Percy Shelley.
The mid-1820’s marked the end of a Mary’s more radical tone to life. Mary wrote, “At the age of twenty six I am in the condition of an aged person – all my old friends are gone.” Byron had passed away, it was clear she was a source of harsh gossip from those she thought friends, and Mary was struggling to move forward, unable to leave her past behind. Though she would try…
In 1831 Shelley rewrote Frankenstein, with a more conservative bent. She also culled her husbands work away from atheism and radicalism towards religion and more socially accepted views. In the biography she would create for Percy Shelley’s life she would ultimately restructure her husband’s work to portray him more as a visionary than the true radical he was.
Now in her thirties, it seems Mary Shelley was taking a more practical view of her once passionate political views. She reanalyzed the writings and work of her mother and argued that the best way to accomplish women’s rights was helping those she could within the realm of her own small world and social structures. Mary Shelley stopped talking, and started doing.
She also changed her mind on marriage and intimacy, saying at a social gathering that “the greatest happiness for any woman is to be the wife or mother of a distinguished man.”She considered remarrying and had several suitors, but either due to her reputation ruining potential proposals or her disinterest in those interested in her, she never remarried. She even had high hopes to match with Major Aubry Beauclerk, a member of parliament. Mary expected a proposal from him in 1833, but he instead chose a younger and richer match in Ida Goring. Ida would die five years later and once again Mary held out hopes he would return to her. Instead, he again chose a more socially acceptable woman.
Mary Shelley’s Later Life
Mary clung to her literary endeavors as her buoy in life and finally published a Percy Shelley biography in 1839 after the begrudging approval of her father-in-law. In the book, Mary took care to portray Percy in a certain light and gave him the more virtuous persona he is still known for today. Perhaps her reasoning for this was two part, one to fulfill what she believed to be her duty to him as a wife and partner, two to make the best version of her life story in attempt to remedy much of her reputation, which still impacted the flimsy friendships she did make.
For the rest of her life she struggled to maintain her reputation and was at constant edge of the harsh realities of her youth being hashed out once again.
Mary spent the remainder of her life traveling with her son and his friends and working on her writing.
Mary Shelley fell into a coma on 23rd January 1851 and died a week later, a brain tumor was the cause. Most of Mary Shelley’s work was neglected from the time of her death until a resurgence of interest in the 1980s.
Which fact about Mary Shelley surprised you most? Were you shocked by any of her history?
What to Do Next:
Read Next: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Louisa May Alcott | Author of Little Women
Read Next: 10 Shocking Things You Didn’t Know About Lewis Carroll
Like this post? Save it on Pinterest, find it again later!
Thanks for reading!
Til next time,
Bex Skoog (formerly Bex Gorsuch) is a Book Blogger and Instagram Influencer who strives to connect readers with their next favorite book and encourages avid bibliophiles to make use of the inspiration found in fiction by implementing story into their day-to-day lives.