There was a discussion on Bill White's facebook and I figured this would be a good place to bring it to bear. For those whom this is an old argument or old discussion please enlighten me and send me links to books and site and posts to read. I do understand the idea of character as an alternate identity, part and parcel to the story but I'm uncertain how that challenges the idea as it has seemed to in the past.
Story - an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.
People, characters are at the heart of our hobby, our art, and no character can be brought to life without a player. There are time when the only even happening in the plot are the characters meeting. The story unfold from there. When the author or screen write tells a story, what is she doing? She's not only describing the weather and what paintings are on the wall, she's giving life to the characters through action and word.
How then is playing a character in improv or an RPG any different? Authorship does NOT separate one from the character. Authorship separates one further from the mysteries the author unfolds. There would be no story if the players didn't detail their characters involvement in the setting and events. And no plot moves forward until we see what the characters say and do in relation to the events and one another. That is clearly authorship.
A game supporting immersion simply means that surprises about ones own past and pacing mechanism must be kept at a minimum to give the player the most room to explore the character and briefly live like her. Walk in her shoes.
While players may seek after an immersive experience, it is by far not a creative agenda (and I mean that in a broad sense of the term, not necessarily tied to the Bog Theory). As with everything in a game, it should be part of the social contract. How far are we willing to go to suspend disbelief. For each group that answer is very different thus why we discuss line and veils. I say this to my groups all the time, remember that line and veils are not just for taboos like rape, torture and incest. Players have means of playing they prefer - the balance of rules, GM and player power; groups agreeing that in a group dynamic the good of the group outweighs the good of the player; how much table chatter there will be, etc. That's all part of lines and veils.
Some games support certain modes of play. D&D has a group dynamic clearly predicated on balance and fairness; Apocalypse World tells the Master of Ceremonies to make the players believe in the world; Fiasco allows you do determine your own successes and failures; while Burning Empires focuses on the effects the characters lives have on the larger story.
Immersion is just a way to tell your character's story - first person rather than third person.