Updates and Clarification

Hi, everyone! I just wanted to give you guys an update since I haven't written anything here in a while. I also want to clarify a few things...


  • I'm more optimistic about a May re-opening date than I am about April. That will mean that we'll only have one VC per book this year. Sorry, guys!
  • The Fifth Wave was going to be one of the five new BTFAs—unfortunately, it was announced just a few days ago that the lead roles have been cast. (ARGH!)
  • Uglies is in advanced negotiations to become a TV show.


  • Almost all of you are referring to what I'm working on as a "new" site...but it's not. It's the same Ning network we've always had with a slightly altered appearance. The main changes I'm making are to our policies, voting schedule, BTFAs, the overall "polish" of our pages, and PR strategies.
  • Aside from a few old groups, none of your content has been deleted.
  • It's probably not the epic overhaul that you think it is. Please don't get your hopes too high—like I said, it's more about changing the content and policies than the design/underlying structure!

I'll be honest: these last couple of weeks have been tough. There are many days where I feel like UBC has run its course and that it's time to let it go. I've been enjoying not having to worry about the site and being able to go for long stretches of time without the internet. I started off strong at the beginning of my overhaul efforts, but I'm getting discouraged by how so few members have expressed any discontentment/sadness about the site going offline. (The implications of that worry me.) What also worries me is that I'm committing myself to a full-time, unpaid job—hell, I actually have to PAY to do it. This was fine when I was in high school and college, but it isn't going to work now because, well, money. I needs it for rent and stuff.

Basically, I'm re-assessing what I can realistically do to make UBC not suck while being able to work and have a life. There are definitely ways for me to simplify routine things I'll need to do to promote Voting Cycles, and that's the kind of stuff I need more time to develop. (By creating templates for everything in advance—particularly stuff like emails, pre-formatted posts for bloggers, Finalist videos, and promotional graphics—I'll be saving my future self's ass! It's just a ton of work up-front.)

Hang in there, people. I'm sure I'll figure it out.

A Brief Pause

Hey, everyone! I'm spending a week in California and don't anticipate being able to put in much work on UBC while I'm here. I'm doing what I can to ensure an April re-launch, but there's a chance that I will need more time and that our first Voting Cycle won't take place until July. (If that's the case, I'll swap Uglies with Monument 14 in light of the TV show news.)

Take care!



Here's a demonstration of why it's taking me so long to put the site back up.

Like with most things, web design is a process.  It takes a lot of epic fails to get anywhere.

Here are just a few of my failures from yesterday and today. (I just wish I would have taken more pictures—there were so many more color/placement fails that will forever go undocumented!)

In a later post, I'll be sure to show you guys what all of this looks like behind the scenes. It totally does not involve me sitting at my desk typing away at teh codez and singing to myself...

The "before" shots.

After copying everything over to the slightly improved template I built earlier...






Why the hell not?

Ok, so this mess is me dumping some options on the page—a large drop-down menu, a table, and a list. Hated them all. Next!

 After spending some time learning how to code them/fixing my numerous mistakes, a wild mini drop-down menu appears!

But wait, does THIS style look better?

LOL NOPE. (You can't tell here because I had only prepared two of them at this point, but the drop-down menus were uneven and gross and no.)

This is also the point where I realize that this purple is too similar to the purple in use on the GONE page, so that had to go. Cue me testing out numerous shades of blue...

Here's me testing out left/right placements and realizing, oh hey, let's try moving ALL the buttons to the left like I should have done 38509345 hours ago so that they'll be even and stuff!




I'm realizing that these pictures don't come close to exposing the full extent of my torture. Expect that second post soon.

Aaaand now I get to implement this new Runners-Up format on eight more pages.

The Infernal Devices RQs

To give you guys a head start before the site re-opens, I now present to you...TID Required Monologues for our May Voting Cycle! (I'll also be posting these on Facebook and Tumblr later today.)


TID: Tessa: "Perfectly Harmless" — Chapter Sixteen, 350-352 (Begin "Nate...", end "...no place for us in New York, Nate.")
TID: Tessa: "I Won't Do It" — Chapter Nineteen, 435-437 (Begin "I don't want it," end "...knife through my heart.")

Tags: tessaTID, TID


TID: Jessamine: "This Was My House" — Chapter Six, 152-154 (Begin "This was my house")
TID: Jessamine: "Too Handsome to Die" — Chapter Thirteen, 299-300

Tags: jessamineTID, TID

TID: Sophie: "Fit To Be Seen" — Chapter Five, 111-112
TID: Sophie: "All Sorts of Things" — Chapter Seven, 156-157

Tags: sophieTID, TID


TID: Will: "Pyxis" — Chapter Four, 85-87 (Begin "Good evening, Thomas," end "...doesn't like to see her work too hard.")
TID: Will: "If You Must Know" — Chapter Five, 106-108 (Begin "Singing the praises," end "...I'll have to befriend Jessamine.")

Tags: willTID, TID

TID: Jem: "Someone He Trusted" — Chapter Thirteen, 304 (Begin "What Will is trying to say," end "...brother might know.")
TID: Jem: "He's So Stubborn" — Chapter Fifteen, 338-340 (Begin "He's so stubborn," end "...how they were so weak.")

Tags: jemTID, TID

Moar Updates

Hey, guys! Just wanted to let you know that I've been working on UBC-related stuff pretty much non-stop over the last few days. In that time, I did things like deleting 200 inactive pages (!!!), updating our forum categories, purging inactive groups, creating new groups, updating our Event calendar,—

*doorbell rings, books just arrived!*

—setting up a contest page, immediately redoing said contest page with Twitter bootstrap because it looks better, updating our Participate/User Agreement/Vote pages, and even came close to finalizing the The Infernal Devices RQs.

I'll admit that doesn't sound like much given the time I've put in, but let me tell you something—creating informative pages is a process. What information is relevant? How should I phrase the information? In which order should I present the information in each tab? Am I maintaining a pleasing aesthetic in each tab? Where can I make cuts so that the information appears balanced on the page? Are the tab titles appropriate and informative? Is the progression of information from tab to tab logical? Have I provided enough information? Are there any redundancies or contradictions in my copy?  Is my copy well-written/strong enough to represent both myself and this site?

It takes me HOURS to get all of that stuff somewhat right.

Add in doing all of this with HTML/Twitter Bootstrap and you have yourself a project. ;-)

(I sure as hell couldn't have done this five years ago! Maybe I'll stop using break tags after paragraphs and use CSS instead someday. Heh. Right. ETA: Just noticed a small but non-harmful mistake in the source code. Just thought I'd say that before someone calls me out on it...)

As with the pages, most of the changes I'm making require some trial and error. I don't get it right on the first try (or, in the case of one particular design element, twenty-eight tries), which is why all of this is taking so much time.

Anyway, thanks again for being patient. Now that I have books to work with, things can really start progressing. Wish me luck!

Voting Cycle/Contest Schedule

OK, so I may have changed the way the site looks a little.
Nothing drastic, though—that'll happen when we switch
to Ning 3.0 later this year. (Boo...)

Hello again! Here's what I'm thinking for our new Voting Cycle schedule. Remember that you will be signing up and voting for three adaptations at a time.

  • Sign-ups End: 10th of Jan, March, May, July, Sep, Nov
  • Voting Cycle Begins: 15th of Jan, March, May, July, Sep, Nov
  • Voting Cycle Ends: 25th of Jan, March, May, July, Sep, Nov
  • Results Announced: 27th of Jan, March, May, July, Sep, Nov

Please let me know if that sounds good to you!

ETA: I want to propose that our Original Web Series Pitch Contest follow that schedule also. 

For scene contests, I'm thinking the following:

Submissions due: 25th of preceding month
Round #1 Voting: 1st - 10th
Round #1 Winners Announced: 12th
Round #2 Voting: 15th - 25th
Round #2 Winner Announced: 27th

Updates and Feels

I have updates on a couple of things:

  • I've edited all of the "What Does UBC Mean to You?" clips I've received so far. I regret to say that some of the transitions and editing might be sloppy because my computer can't handle all of your awesome footage. Boo...
  • I ordered the black logo tee from Redbubble to make sure that it looks OK. If it does, you'll have the purchase link soon!
  • I finished my first read-through of Clockwork Angel yesterday. Once I have the RQs for the upcoming Voting Cycle in May, I'll post them here to give you guys a head start.

This next part's a little more personal.

Throughout this process, we've had about ten people routinely commenting on this blog—thanks so much for that. As you can imagine, however, I have to really ask myself where the other 3390 of you are. Where are our Finalists? Our old Finalists? The people who said they couldn't imagine living without UBC? Why have emails from concerned members not been flooding my inboxes? Why do so few people care anymore? (Ok, so I know the answers to those last few. It's what prompted the site overhaul in the first place.)

Even though I know the site overhaul will fix a lot of the problems we've had, I still can't help but realize:
  • I'm terrified that despite the countless hours that are going into this revamp, nothing will change. 
  • I'm terrified that too many of you have already moved on.
  • I'm terrified by the sheer volume of work that's still ahead of me.
  • I'm terrified of screwing up again.

You know, just the usual feels. ;-)