I grew up with a fireplace so it's second nature to me, but I once had a girlfriend who told me that, while house sitting, she tried and tried to no avail to get a fire going in the fireplace, and ended up not able to do it, losing the hoped for opportunity of curling up by the fire with a good book. Her family had never had a fireplace, she'd never seen anyone get one going, and figured you just piled some wood in and held a match under it till it started burning. Alot of people have particular ways of doing it, and also of keeping the fire going. Real split firewood is just too expensive here in the city, so I get a pallet now and then, (free from the right places) knock it apart with a maul, then cut the pieces to length on a mitre saw. Alot of pallets have alot of oak in them, which is great firewood, but I burn whatever comes along. First I stuff crumpled newspaper under the grating: several full sized sheets. For kindling I knock eight or ten half inch pieces off a short board with a hatchet. Then a few wider pieces from the same stock. Once that's all going I start adding the 2 x 4 sized pieces of pallet. Out on the country somewhere it can be easier to use twiggy brush and then sticks for kindling, cause it's all over the place, and then proceed to progressively larger pieces.