Originally posted by Guancyto
It stems from a really fundamental, basic failure to ask, for five years, "hey bossman, how exactly are we determining how much I get paid for this?"
Hrm. I will admit that I was thinking of novel and short story writers rather than RPG writers. You write a steamer trunk full of unworkable copy and your editor mercifully cuts it down to a novel, you get paid for a novel, you know?
Interesting that it isn't necessarily so elsewhere.
(I guess I'm a little biased from having read the corebook leaks, where there was so much unworkable copy, rightly thrown into the fire, and going "wait, you wanted to get paid by the word for that? Uh, let me check the going rate on birdcage liner...")
Huh. Since I am talking from the point of view of novels, short stories, nonfic and so on (which is just stuff I have actual experience writing and publishing, not hearsay and imagination), I am here to tell you that you're ...a bit all over the place. Because novels aren't by the word for one thing - you write a novel you get paid for a novel, that's true. And the way it works currently is that all the work got frontloaded, so you're being paid after you do the work (at least at the beginning, for most people). Short stories are fuzzier - it is by the word but for a range, still mostly paid post-writing. And you just don't get in if the story sucks/doesn't meet the spec of the anthology (if your editor is any good anyway). If it needs editing it gets edited and you still get paid by the word. If you get contracted for work like this, hand some shit in past deadline, you might get a cut fee, you might not, your work might go through the wringer to get edited up, it might not, but if it is gonna get used you're gonna get paid. And you get a contract when you get signed on unless you've got a handshake deal. Nonfic depends on market - mags and newspaper have brutal brutal word counts and limits and will hack your stuff to pieces if necessary, longer form depends on market.
What doesn't happen is that you edit it, the cut stuff gets used elsewhere, and you don't get paid because it got cut and you got paid for the first 3000 not anything after. That's how you get sections that don't make sense. That's how you get references to bits that got cut elsewhere. That's how you get 'shit we didn't cover X in your write up can you add that in please' resulting in either everything being cut past the bone to fit word count, or writers not getting paid.
And it isn't so much 'determining how much' as, say, issuing a contract for the things you've agreed on because handshake deals don't suffice anymore. A contract isn't just about how much you get paid, it's things like other fees, protections, deadlines. Contingency plans, and so on.
Also talking from the POV of someone who has seen drafts, so the 'they haven't produced anything' is, to not put a finer point on it, bullshit. John and Holden were producing work, and we were planning stuff. It didn't make it to you, the consumer, but it was being made and being written. And some of it being shit is likely on the writer, which given the fact it is a team effort and you're reading drafts, that is unsurprising in the least. And the Devs are paid by the word that they have to work on which was part of throwing shit into the fire when it was bad, and wrangling writer ego/anxiety about it too.
(I mean, I am in the enviable position of having seen a bunch of the 'lost material' but hey, that's a perq of being mates with them, not about my writing)