I just build a fire from scraps of 2x4, 2x6 etc.. I split the scrap wood into 6-8" lengths about the size of a finger, with a few smaller ones for starting the fire, put down a layer of 6-10 crumpled up sheets of newspaper, and cover the paper with the wood kindling.. light a match and turn on the fan. Once the fire is going strong add about 1" of coal over the fire, let it get hot, then add another layer of coal, once the coal is burning well, just fill up the burnpot.. it will burn from the bottom up.
AHS has good advice in their owners manual for the intial burn,, the most important thing is to let the fire burn hard for a good hour.. use lots of hot water, open the windows and use lots of heat.. this is to fully establish a full fire throughout the firepot.. you don't want any areas not burning,,
You can also use several 3-4" long pieces of road-flare.. they burn hot, but they do smell.. like fireworks.. but they burn hot and will get the coal burning fast.. the 'coal mice' have opened up have ground up road flare, wood chips and a few pieces of coal in the box or bag..