Related Posts

Share This

Peter Dodds ~ Outer Search Inner Journey

Peter Dodds

Peter Dodds

Everyone has a story. The desire to share stories of our lives is a universal human longing. With the release of my autobiography, Outer Search Inner Journey ©1997, I set out on the book signing circuit where participants habitually remarked, “I want to write a book about my life.”

Many who dream of writing the next great American novel hold a desire to see their life’s story in print. They have an advantage over other aspiring authors as writers can only write what they know. Those dreaming of undertaking an autobiography have the prerequisite needed to launch their literary pursuit; they’ve lived their life and know their book’s material!

At book signings I was always asked, “Why did you write Outer Search Inner Journey?” This question helps guide the aspiring autobiographer. What’s your motivation?

I wrote for three reasons: as a means of expression, to offer a message of hope for tormented souls and to show the pitfalls of international adoption. I was adopted from a German orphanage by American parents and grew up a misunderstood alien in the United States. Separated from my German family, ethnic culture and native land left me with a chilling emptiness. To fill the void, I returned to Germany and searched for my mother, but my journey twisted into a desperate struggle to escape a labyrinth of hopeless despair.

Peter Dodds as young child

Peter Dodds as young child

To draw readers into my story, I wrote Outer Search Inner Journey as if a novel.  I wanted readers to vicariously experience the drama, romance, heartbreaks and ultimate triumph of my life story. Before writing each scene, I traveled back in time and relived each of the book’s episodes. Once immersed in a past event, I described the action, shared my thoughts and imparted my feelings.

This process awakened painful memories and writing sessions often left me exhausted. Even so, an unexpected reward emerged. New understandings about my life surfaced and these insights aided the healing process.

Writing is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. These actions proved helpful:

Participate in a local writer’s group
Develop discipline and schedule time to write
Read books about writing
Attend writer’s conferences

Show don’t tell is a creative writing axiom. Character development is the reason my adventures as an Army Ranger are included in Outer Search Inner Journey. The Ranger scenes are action packed and make for entertaining reading. More importantly, these scenes show the reader I was a strong, disciplined man who overcame considerable hardship despite troublesome emotional and spiritual emptiness.

Words are powerful. However, using the same word over and over diminishes descriptive strength. To avoid this trap, I injected metaphors to keep my writing engaging. Early in the book, I introduced a castle metaphor to symbolize my emotional landscape. This castle offered protection from the outside world but also held me prisoner. My autobiography can be read as a metaphorical journey; a story of finding a way out an imprisoning castle. 

Peter Dodds - Outer Search Inner Journey book coverThe publishing industry has undergone a technology explosion and Outer Search Inner Journey‘s been converted to a Kindle format. Many of these technological changes, such as print-on-demand, help writers get published. Still, to sell books, aspiring authors need to identify their audience and develop strategies on reaching them.

Market research revealed the most likely readers of my book would be adoptees, women who’ve relinquished a child, therapists, adoption professionals and parents who’ve adopted. To reach these audiences, I sent courtesy copies of my book to respected leaders in the adoption field, submitted articles to adoption related publications and spoke at adoption conferences.

What makes your book unique? How is it different from what’s already been published? Outer Search Inner Journey is the first book written by a foreign adoptee on the subject of international adoption. This uniqueness opened the door to many newspaper and magazine articles as well as radio, Internet and television interviews.

If you’ve thought of writing your memoir, and the idea won’t go away, you’ve been smitten by the literary gods. Relief only comes with writing. I encourage anyone who’s been smitten to start and experience the joy of writing one’s memoir. Sending best wishes to everyone on their writing journey!

Peter Dodds

Click on the cover art to buy your very own copy of Outer Search Inner Journey: