Preparation is usually the key to success with most activities, and this is even more true when making fire. You may be in a survival situation as I have been more than once where it is imperative that you get a fire going as soon as possible and you know that you may only get one chance at it.
We have already spoken of collecting at least three sizes of kindling and placing them in three piles. In a situation where it is raining or snowing it is wise to get a shelter errected first so you can carry on your preparation under cover.
Make your fire pit/hole close to your shelter, this will serve four purposes. 1) you can reflect more warmth into your shelter by making a rock reflection wall at the back of your fire place. 2) you are within easy reach of the fire to start it without you having to go outside your shelter. 3) you can cook your food and boil the kettle without getting wet, and 4) you will be storing kindling and firewood at the back of your shelter, and close-by on the sides of your shelter. When the fire dies down in the night you can stoke it from your bedroll.
I have tried many ways of laying a fire place over the years. When I was a kid of 6-7 years it was my job to collect kindling for the kitchen stove, and light it. I was also allowed to make a camp in our large garden and have a camp fire to cook food on. I still have the same chores today, almost 60 years later.
The easiest way I have found is to lay a small log at the end of your fireplace, and just like constructing a lean-to shelter against a fallen tree, you likewise lay light kindling bark or twigs and sticks against/on top of this small log. As with the shelter this will leave a cave or space beneath your kindling. All you have to do then is insert your flaming dry grass or whatever you are using, just like throwing bedding straw inside your shelter.
You can start to add larger pieces of wood almost straight away, because the small log will stop the fire from being crushed and extiguished, which is what often happens with other fire lays when people are in a hurry to get the fire blazing.
The small log layed at the end of the fireplace.
The fire ready to place under the kindling sticks!