Hopefully the first thing one learns in a class on programming is that the computer can't fix your problems. YOU have to tell the computer what to do. Therefore, being able to solve the problem (or set up the algorhythm) with pencil and paper is a prerequisite to writing the code. Think about what sort of information you need to draw an X using asterisks. If you can write out the process, you will be much more likely to be able to successfully write the code.