Others have focused on materials and structure. This answer just tries to supplement that info by focusing a bit on fire building as a process.
Others have mentioned that your initial source (e.g. a match) needs tiny tinder to ignite. A small fire of burning tinder can ignite larger wood (kindling). A medium-size fire of kindling can ignite logs. That much is pretty understandable, even for someone who has never tried to light a fire.
Similarly, very dry, dead wood ignites easier than damp or green wood. (A hot fire can ignite damp - even wet - or green wood by first drying it out.) And different kinds of wood burn differently: some catch fire easily and burn quickly; others catch fire less easily and burn longer (and perhaps hotter).
A common mistake for a novice is to build what looks like a fine structure, with tinder, kindling, and logs, as if it were a finished building - a log cabin of sorts, or a large teepee. That can work, with experience, but it can also fail. And it's not the right way to learn to start a fire (IMHO).
What's important it this: Pay attention to whatever fire you have already, starting with your match. Feed IT, according to its size and its available fuel and oxygen (e.g. wind) - that is, the fuel and oxygen that it has access to in immediate proximity/contact. Fuel and air that is not right next to the fire (e.g. flame) doesn't count.
What this means in practice is that it's not about what your structure looks like. It's about what's happening in the immediate vicinity of the fire itself - the part that's actually burning. That's all that counts.
Fuel that is not burning is not really part of your fire. It doesn't matter whether it is sitting in a pile next to your fire or it forms a giant structure around your fire, waiting for your fire to get to it. If it ain't burning it ain't part of your fire.
To make things simple, let's assume that all of your fuel is good, dead, very dry. You've prepared, ahead of lighting, a pile of tinder, a pile of kindling of various sizes (e.g. stick diameters), and a pile of logs of various sizes. You're ready to add fuel to whatever fire you have at any moment.
(If your fuel is not super dead and dry then you will need more heat to catch it on fire, and you will need to build your fire up more slowly.)
Build a small fire structure. One that will accept your match fire, to light tinder, and with a small amount of small kindling ready to be lit from the burning tinder.
Light the tinder and immediately pay attention to the resulting fire. If it burns well, add a bit of tiny kindling.
Do not add fuel that the small fire is not eager to burn. Be ready to add fuel to your fire. But don't add fuel until your fire asks for it. Your fire will tell you when it's hungry for more.
Yep. Smothering your fire with too much fuel is like clogging your mouth with too much food to chew and swallow. And that's a common mistake.
The fastest way to eat a sandwich (including swallowing) is to take small bites and swallow them before taking more. Jamming lots of food in your mouth just clogs things up. Same with fire fuel: feed your fire only as much as it seems to be accepting and catching on fire.
Just keep paying attention to how your fire's burning, and feeding it to make it bigger. A bigger fire can ignite more fuel and bigger chunks of fuel.
How much fuel do you add at any time? Just whatever works - only as much as will actually catch fire. Add one little piece and see if it catches, then repeat. Give the fuel you've already added a chance to burn well, before adding more.
Remember: You're adding fuel only to get more heat, to increase the size of your fire. You're not adding fuel for its own sake. If fuel you add doesn't catch fire then take it off. If it catches slowly, wait till it gets going good before adding more.
Fire needs heat, fuel, and oxygen, and it can only use them in balanced amounts. You start with a very small amount of heat, so you add only a small amount of fuel at first. You add more fuel progressively, as the fire can handle it.
[Successful use of a large, pre-built structure doesn't contradict this. In that case, the large amount of big fuel is not used by the fire initially, and it is kept far enough away from the actual fire (e.g. flame) that it does not prevent access to sufficient oxygen. The disadvantage of this approach, especially for a novice, is that it is hard to adjust your fire as it burns. In effect, with this approach you've planned for a specific burning / fire development. If the fire does not actually burn as the structure would expect, then you have to start taking it apart and re-building it progressively.]
That's the idea, but here's something important in terms of adjusting your fire: wind - specifically, wind that you provide and regulate by blowing on your small fire, to help it grow.
Here's the simple secret to blowing on a fire: Blow from below, not above. To do that, put the side of your head on the ground or very near to it. The lower your mouth is to the ground, the better. (Don't blow into the wind, obviously.)
Purse your lips and blow slowly, steadily, and long. Then turn your head away from the heat and smoke, and inhale. Repeat... Long, steady breaths, not sudden or powerful breaths. The power, for the fire, is in the long, steady supply of fresh air, not in the strength of a quick gust.
You act like a blowtorch, and the result has the effect of a blowtorch. Think blacksmith bellows for a fire that heats iron. No bellows, no wrought iron.
If your fire is very tiny (little heat), blow very gently or not at all. As it gets a little larger (hotter), you can blow more strongly. This is a very effective way to get your fire burning hotter and larger faster.
(Yes, you can also fan a fire with a hat, pot, etc., but the wind you get from this is nowhere near as strong, consistent, and lengthy as an exhalation. Its only advantage is that it seems easier, but it's generally a weak method of supplying oxygen.)