Hi, A. E. here. Today I wanted to update on where I am at with my current project, the Zippy Mae series.
I announced this series last year and have been working on it ever since. I’ve restarted my draft twice, and am on the third draft now. After a lot of world-building, I decided I didn’t want it anymore. And not only the world-building, but the fact the entire story had gotten turned on its head and I had strayed far from where I originally intended this story to go.
Sometimes my imagination gets away from me, and I have to reign it back, and get my story back on track.
So where is Zippy Mae?
Zippy Mae is what I’ve imagined as the Disney black princess we (as in the black community) should have gotten.
Other communities had gotten their representation in the Disney canon.
Asians got Mulan. The Middle East was represented with Jasmine. Native Americans got Pocahontas. In 2016, the Pacific Islands got Moana.
I know these aren’t picture perfect representations of any culture, but these movies are classic and highly loved. Mulan, Jasmine, and etc, get much more love than criticism, let alone much hate, though reasonable complaints.
What did black people get?
With The Princess and the Frog, we got a waitress who was a frog that wanted to own a restaurant.
Since I’m still super salty about it, I came up with Zippy Mae.
Zippy Mae is the Princess of the Kingdom of Delar, in a fantasy world I’ve named Talavera. She is a very special princess because she’s the first royal family member with magic powers in a long time. I say long time because I haven’t figured out how long yet.
What I have figured out is that Zippy Mae will have everything that iconic Disney princesses have, that Tiana the Waitress didn’t have, plus a few extras that I wanted.
For instance, Zippy Mae has magic powers. Aurora, Cinderella, Jasmine, Ariel, etc. did not have magic. My princess does.
Like all Disney princesses, Zippy Mae is going to have a loveable huggable squeezable adorable sidekick.
Rapunzel got a really cute iguana.
Snow White had an entire band of forest animals.
Cinderella had mice that wore clothes.
Ariel had an adorable pufferfish.
Even the newest Raya had an armadillo creature that was super cute.
Yet Tiana had…
So on my end, I haven’t decided on how I want to come at Zippy Mae’s sidekick, like do I want the sidekick to talk, or be like a pet, or do I want the sidekick to be magical. All I know is it’ll be cute, cute, CUTE!
Also, as I’ve said, Zippy Mae is a princess. You know…her father is King and her mother is Queen.
Tiana was a waitress.
Man, I’m realizing I’m super bitter about The Princess and the Frog. I guess I shouldn’t be, like the movie came out a long time ago. But it left a lasting impression on me that I haven’t been able to shake.
So here I am, still cursing its name. Why call it The Princess and the Frog? It should either be called The Waitress and the Frog, or called The Frog and the Frog. Because both main characters were frogs nearly the entire movie.
Anyway, Zippy Mae is 12 years old, while I think Aurora was 17, and Ariel was 16 and I’m pretty sure Tiana was somewhere in her 20s. (Don’t @ me on this, I didn’t look it up because its not that important.)
What is important about Zippy Mae’s age is that this novel series is middle grade. My target audience is like between 9 to 13. I believe that’s the range for mid-grade.
Personally, I want everyone to enjoy this story, even adults.
You know how I said The Princess and the Frog left a lasting impression on me? Unfortunately it was a negative one, but it didn’t have to be. I’d love Zippy Mae to leave a lasting impression on my readers too, one that is very positive.
And so, that’s Zippy Mae everyone! She’s my black girl princess with magic powers!
That’s the story.
That’s the update.
I think its mostly the same thing I said in 2020, but those are the parts that haven’t changed. I’ve been writing and rewriting and changed so much, that I then got rid of (and where those parts went is another story) that I’ve ended up back where I started.
I did give myself a deadline, however.
December 31, 2021 is when the first draft of Zippy Mae and the Seven Kingdoms must be completed. No excuses. Hopefully by saying this publicly will light a fire under my butt, and keep me accountable. The last thing I want is to post in January 2022 that I didn’t finish my novel.
So, I hope you guys stick around! Zippy Mae is my current project, and I’m really enjoying writing it. And one day, sooner rather than later, you’ll all be able to enjoy reading it.
And as always, while I write my cat Aomine keeps me company by my side.
P.S. I’m aware this post was more a rant against The Princess and the Frog than it was an update about my novel. The fact is how I feel about Zippy Mae is intrinsically connected to how I feel about The Princess and the Frog. Talking about one ends up with me talking about the other. However I’m sure as I write the novel more, my updates should be more on Zippy Mae, and less about Tiana the frog. I’ll work on my bitterness, I promise!
P.S.S. Also I don’t mind if someone likes The Princess and the Frog, I won’t judge or argue about it. When I was in Costa Rica I talked to a younger lady who loved it because it took place in New Orleans where she was from. I could go into the setting of The Princess and the Frog and why I hated it as well…but I’ll refrain. For now.
Onward to writing Zippy Mae, and a fun post next week! Bye….
3 Comments Add yours
Late to the party…I agree with you that Disney gave the world the laziest version of black representation since the crows in Dumbo. Still, I did watch the movie and found it entertaining but not as a representation of my people. I can wait to read Zippy Mae.
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Not late at all! Always glad to get a comment from you and a chance to have conversation. Honestly I watched it once and once was enough. I remember disliking or hating every moment of that movie. The character design, the music, the “prince” who was broke and a womanizer and made a deal with the devil oooh I was so mad! I could even go off on the setting being in a swamp…like there was not a single thing this movie did right. Maybe its just a movie, but with how powerful Disney is and how they defined my childhood experience with movies, stories and characters, I can’t help but be furious at The Waitress and the Frog…yeah she wasn’t even a princess despite the title..oh man you’re getting me started!!