The original prompt, from Springboard, page 126:
Your assignment is to write an original narrative from real or imagined experiences or events. Your story must include a variety of narrative techniques - such as foreshadowing, point of view, figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and/or irony - as well as effective details and a well-structured sequence of events.
There are a LOT of details to this prompt, so be sure to:
Use a variety of the narrative techniques it describes above
You MUST use a consistent point of view. That means if you start in first person your story never becomes second or third person.
You MUST use imagery. Because you must create characters and the environments they find themselves in, you must use descriptive imagery to develop them. Your descriptions might be entirely realistic or include the use of figurative language, but these descriptions must be there.
You MUST use dialogue. I know it isn’t in the list, but I’m expecting it.
You SHOULD use all of these techniques. The rubric rewards “a range of narrative techniques and devices.” This does not mean you need everything to by symbolic or to have many examples of irony, however: use them where appropriate, and do not overuse them.
Develop complex characters!
A character can be characterized in three ways. Use them all!:
What that person says and how they say it.
What a person does and how they do it.
What other characters say to/about the character, and how they say it.
The protagonist must face a primary conflict, with the majority of the story being about them leading up to a climax over that conflict. This build-up is the rising action, and it should all be related to the same conflict.
Complex characters change. As the character faces the rising action and overcomes (or fails to overcome) their conflict during the climax of the story, they should be changing. They should be learning. This does not have to be a large change. A strong character can realize their vulnerabilities, or a weak character can realize that strength is not the only thing that matters. You could even have a character who is expected to change fail to change, and have them suffer at the end as a result.
The events in your story must make rational sense based on the details of the story. You cannot have actions occur that have absolutely nothing to do with what has come before. If you make sudden changes that seem out of place, you are not “surprising your audience”; rather, you are tricking them, and you should treat your reader with more respect than that.
Part of a narrative is having a theme. You should not necessarily have a sentence at the end that specifically says this theme, but your reader should be able to figure out what message you are trying to convey. Be sure that your conclusion provides some level of insight into this message (look at how the short stories from Springboard end!).