I'm working on a fantasy novel. A very large portion of the cast are all dragons, and humans aren't present until later chapters of the book. But here's the catch: my dragons are anthropomorphic. they walk on two legs instead of four, wear clothing (i have already planned the 'how' and 'why' of this), and use tools and weapons. All of this might be easily shown if there were humans in the scene to draw comparisons from, but the story sets humans and dragons apart for a reason. I'm also reluctant to include any extra scenes for the sole purpose of comparing the two races side by side, due to the fact that it wouldn't add to the plot, and my novel is already too long. I had originally planned to dispel the reader's idea of dragons, then build them back up through description. After first telling the reader that stories of dragons were gross exaggerations, I wrote a paragraph describing how a dragon is slumping in a chair. I thought it made sense, but after going back and forth with someone who was helping me edit and being repeatedly told that my descriptions did little to clear things up for the reader, i've begun to question the "show, don't tell" mantra that I've heard so many times before. since then, my paragraph that at first only told of what dragons are not, has now become the following: Amongst humans, there had been many tales of dragons, but few were anywhere near the truth. “More likely to eat you than talk to you. Scales like iron. Fiery, bone-melting breath. Giant, soulless killers.” Akell had once preferred humans to believe those stories. Let them think he lumbered around on all fours instead of standing solidly on two legs, as they did. Or that he could devour a grown man in a single bite, when he would be hard-pressed to fit a human infant in his jaws—not that he would ever resort to something so barbaric or disgusting. I'm not sure what i think. I'm mostly happy with it, but in knowing that this is telling the reader instead of showing, I can't help but feel like it drags a little bit- and will certainly drag if i attempt to include more. But also i feel like if i try to go back to the old method of "break down, build back up," i'll fall into the same trap of having the reader filling in what i haven't told them with what they know from other stories, and become confused when i attempt to show them otherwise. thoughts?