The D'ni Script
One of the best ways to learn the D'ni characters is to practice writing them yourself. Though it may look daunting, D'ni is actually a relatively easy script to pick up, as long as you go slowly and concentrate. Similar to cursive penmanship in English, it is written from left to right, slanting slightly to the right, in a long, continuous motion. It is also a beautiful script to write, flowing smoothly from the pen in strong, dark strokes.
Proper writing technique is essential to learn from the beginning; it is much easier to learn to write correctly to begin with, rather than re-teach yourself after years of bad habit. Formal D'ni is written with a square-tip calligraphy pen, but informally it can be written with a simple point-tip pen. When writing with a calligraphy pen, remember that it should be held at around 45º from the horizontal, as shown in the diagram below. Be sure to maintain the angle of the pen at a constant position, so all of your characters are consistently shaded.
Left-handed writers often face additional challenges when learning to write D'ni. Some resources are available in print and online to assist with left-handed calligraphy; a variety of techniques, such as over- or underwriting, turning the paper at an angle, using left-handed pen nibs, and angling the writing surface, may prove useful.
When writing more than one letter, we first complete all of the characters' bases, then go back and add in all the flags and accents. This is how D'ni writing gains its fluid, unbroken look. Flags are always drawn from the base upwards.
Stroke Order of the Alphabet
Study the stroke order of each character as diagrammed below; click on the link to see a demonstration of how each character is drawn. Green indicates where each stroke begins, yellow where the stroke turns back on itself at an angle, and red where the stroke ends. Once you are comfortable with individual characters, we will write some simple words so you get a feel for how D'ni is written in practice.
Stroke Order of Whole Words
Here are some simple words to practice writing. Remember, the bases of all characters in the word are written in one long stroke, then the flags and accents are added in. As you are writing each character, try to think ahead to the character that comes next, and how it looks and connects to the character you are about to complete. Write slowly and deliberately, concentrating on the distinguishing features of each character, until you reach the end of the word. Then, go back to the beginning of the word and spell to yourself as you review the characters you've just written, adding flags and accents as you go along.