I can't say this enough times. I can't count how many times I have failed to do so any gotten screwed. Get it in writing. No matter what we're talking about. In my case, story assignments. Do nothing until the contract is signed. Ever. Someday, I will learn this lesson and I will not stay up late being upset anymore.
Get it in writing. Payment schedules, intellectual property rights, lease agreements. All of it. Nobody is nice and a handshake does not count.
I am now saying this more as a mantra to myself. A chant I shall repeat as I stomp up the hills home today, a song I will sing in the shower.