but the biggest thing I would suggest... if your just starting out, build the Tiny Trainer or other 'learning' style plane and get some experience flying something that is known to fly well. Otherwise pilot skill vs plane design issues would be nearly impossible to distinguish.
I will leave it to others to supply links to the physical aspects of plane design.
There are a few unwritten rules that can be equally important and come only with experience.
1. Use expo
2. Plan your flight. Watching the plane and responding to what it does is a recipe for overcontrolling and disaster.
3. Greater control surface deflection does NOT make the plane easier to fly!
4. It takes less time to check the plane's settings and that it is in good repair, (Ten times), is quicker than one repair due to lawn darting.
5. If you break props it is good because it is quicker to fix than a complete rebuild or extensive repair.
6. Tractor designs are generally simpler to fly in the air with less handling idiosyncrasies.
7. Bigger planes make bigger holes in the ground and cost more to repair.
8. Avoid anywhere with trees and other obstacles for your first few flights.
9. If you can log some sim time on your controller before crashing your first model.
10. Flight stabilisers can help you initially but do not plan on using them on every model you fly as they can hamper your skill development.
There are more of course but that list is a good start. Just remember the plane is designed to fly and you are not! Apart from existing damage to the plane and the odd component failure, the most common cause of crashes is the pilot!
Crashing less often over time is a sign of skill development!