Interesting idea. Nice blog, by the way.
Not sure how this jives with any NDAs you might have signed, my apologies if this is something you can't discuss, but one question that hangs in my mind is how the "gray" areas of the universe are handled? By that I mean, are there specific guidelines for stories involving factions, worlds, and organizations that don't have a lot of current fluff to them? Or are writers more encouraged to stick to information "safe zones" and leave such matters to other products? Thanks!
There are few "gray" areas in the Battletech universe. Most of the stuff out there is in print, but there are a few things that aren't made public, and a lot more that that is kept from even the writers (For example, I have no idea what is going to happen after 3145). A few products like Interstellar Players, Interstellar Players 2, and the April Fools and Halloween products are not part of the core reference we writers use. My personal reference Battletech library takes up two bookshelves and 4.5GB of computer hard drive space.
The first thing I do is read up on everything I can find about the planet, faction and group that I can find. Worlds are the ones least likely to have a lot written up about them, but I need to check to make sure. That involves reading a number of different books. As for the major faction, they are fully written up. Minor factions have enough down that I can work with.
Creating factions and worlds is not the job of a story writers; that is he sourcebook writers (I wear both hats). For IP3, I created the New Delphi Compact. While it doesn't have the depth or the breath of a successor state Housebook, there's enough information there for a writer to write a story set in the Compact or a GM to base an adventure on. Most groups have enough written about them to use in a story.
Once a story is written and passes the first hurdle (Not being rejected by Battlecorps editor Jason Schmitzer), the story is sent to a group of fact-checkers (AKA, the Continuity Hooligans) who scour the story looking for problems. It is possible that something unknown to the writer will invalidate the story, or cause serious continuity problems that causes the story to either be junked entirely or need to be massively rewritten.
Personally, I try to stay away from those gray areas, There enough stories and enough background to write hundreds of stories without straying into unknown territory.
Hope that answer your question!