Top-lit fires are best...
When lighting a fire in a stove you can either put the small pieces in the bottom and keep putting larger pieces on top, or you can put the heavy logs on the bottom and kindling above.
This top lit approach is usually more successful because the weight of the logs doesn't smother the kindling beneath as it burns. It also works very well outdoor as the platform of wood beneath insulates your fire from the wet cold ground beneath.
We use this method every time now and it never fails us.