I've been rewriting my V-Day query so the book doesn't sound so much like a thriller. It's not a thriller. It's a contemporary novel with a high-stakes ending. It's important for me to get this right in the query because it affects agents' expectations. If they start reading the novel thinking the whole plot revolves around a girl running away from a mad gunman, they're going to be disappointed.
As I was rewriting, I wrote a sentence something like: "Her drug addict brother who listens to depressive metal all night and her depressed mother who hoards magazines...." You editor types out there will see right away why this doesn't work. You can't use "depressive" and "depressed" so close together without interrupting the flow. And I couldn't think of another adjective to describe her mother other than depressed.
So, I started looking for another word to describe the kind of music her brother listens to.
When I was researching V-Day, I spent an evening listening to different kinds of metal. And to be honest, it absolutely freaked me out. The written descriptions in Wikipedia didn't help much. I had my protagonist's brother listening to doom metal, because that sounded so, you know, scary. But then I actually listened to doom metal and it turned out to be way too upbeat for him. It was old stuff like Black Sabbath. Too mainstream. I finally found what I was looking for: depressive metal. Think funeral dirge with lots of screaming in the background. Horrible, sick stuff. It gave me the creeps and I could tell from my husband's body language that he *hated* me listening to it.
Back to the query. Replacing "depressive" with "funeral" sounded to me like a possibility, but when I put it in the search engine, I came up with another wordy description and couldn't figure out if it would fit my character. So, I listened to a snippet and realized, no, funeral wasn't going to work. Too shiny and happy.
I think I looked up death metal next. I don't remember if that's exactly what I typed in and I'm not going to retrace my Google steps to find it, believe me. My search pulled up a pop up so that I could listen to a sampling. I pushed play and at that very moment everything in the house went crazy. The phone started ringing, but it wasn't where it should have been; the baby started crying somewhere in the house; my husband was nowhere in sight and as I looked frantically for a "stop" button on the pop up, I couldn't find one. Thankfully it was still buffering so I ran back into my bedroom to grab the other phone.
By the time I got back to the kitchen maybe a minute later, my son was hovering over the computer while music that sounded like someone was being thrown into the pit of hell was blasting from my laptop. My husband burst out of the office, yelling, "What are you listening to?"
I have rarely felt so ashamed. I finally found a way to stop the thing and made a solemn promise that I would never research metal again. My characters are going to have to come up with other types of music to enjoy. Sorry, Sebastian.
My protagonist's brother will be listening to funeral metal in my query and depressive metal in my manuscript, and everyone will just have to be okay with that. *grin*