The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy: Part 11


Indulge me for a moment. 

The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy works like this: A retired sharpshooter from Texas decides to shoot at the side of a barn randomly. When he’s finished, he notices certain bullet holes grouped closer together than anywhere else on the barn. So he draws a bullseye around those holes and leaves. 

Now, when future passer-bys see the barn, they conclude that the shooter was aiming for that target all along. 

Today, I realized something terrible about my creative process. I am 100% guilty of the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy. I sketch out various random ideas, shoot them like bullets at a wall. Then, if I see a few bullet holes next to each other, I draw a bullseye around it. This then becomes my target as I aim future bullets in its direction. And it honestly never occurred to me that this method isn't rooted in anything truthful. ANY idea feels true under this fallacy (especially creative ones). But in reality, it's just a bullseye I drew - circling random holes that hopefully contain a deeper meaning, but probably doesn't.

All of this realizing is convincing me to start over from scratch and dig deeper. To form better first principles for writing a collection of coherent pieces of music that fit snuggly together. I want the finished album to feel like it could ONLY fit together the way it does. Not glued together with half-baked theories that were never rooted in anything true. 

For me, music and art are about truth. Or at the very least, they should aim to be. 

What I think I may do is write a narrative. Build a frame work of story. When I look back on the better projects I’ve worked on, they’ve usually been for other developers/directors that had a fully structured story. Music naturally fits in a narrative framework, and I think I’d like to architect my way through this album, from first principles.

Kyle Preston