Dim Sum: As the advice at the top of this board goes, ideas are worthless, haha. I'd much rather have a writer with a story they're passionate about, than suggest someone write me a specific story. The pitches there are some silly ideas I picked off the top of my head, or were the basis of other projects. (We did actually make a visual novel about a human spy who has to learn alien romance!)
To my mind, good writing is harder to find than a good idea.
I've worked on commission myself before, but I haven't yet lead a team that was paid on commission. All of my projects up until a few months ago have been primarily portfolio-building projects where no one has been paid, so forgive my lack of experience in this regard.
I'd be willing to compensate a writer up to $10/hour of work, provided that I and the artist REALLY like your writing sample and pitch. In this case, I'd like the writer to have a) worked on a successful, complete VN before or b) be published/known for their writing online. In the unlikely event of financial success, everyone on the team will get an equal cut of profits after expenses are paid for, for a year after release. I worked on commission for a professional developer friend (the guy who made Realm of the Mad God! http://www.realmofthemadgod.com/
) who has a lawyer and fancy contracts, so that could be arranged if necessary.
However, rather than for money, I'd prefer that a writer want to work with us:
* Out of a desire to expand your portfolio with professional-quality work.
* Because you're passionate about making a game.
* Because you're passionate about your script.
* You like us and think it would be fun to work with us.
* You're confident in our team's ability to see a project through to the end.
Incidentally, I attend school in Pittsburgh, PA, and my family home is in San Jose, CA, so if you have geographic proximity to either of those places, I'd love to meet over coffee.
Redeyesblackpanda, in regards to a word count that justifies a price tag of $5, I confess that I do not have a good sense of how long a game would have to be to justify that much money. All I have for reference is the Kitty Love project -- I estimated that as a $2 game? I'm open to any advice about how long a game would have to be to justify the price. I'm hoping to have about 5 hours of gameplay.
In regards to game length, although I've said that I don't want to do a mathematically complex life-sim, I have made action/platformer games before. Adding a gameplay element can significantly lengthen the life of a visual novel, so I'm willing to include a single simple gameplay element provided that it's very-well integrated into the story, is a core mechanic, and it's inclusion doesn't overshadow the visual novel nature of the game. For instance, we could create a replayable rail-shooting game element that pops up a couple times, an exciting dialogue mechanic, or very light money/stat elements.
As an example, here's a shooter we made a few months ago:http://www.gamecreation.org/game/merblade