When do you describe something?

Having moved on from my first chapter I began re-reading the next one.  I can see some changes that need to be made badly, especially since I have now corrected things from the first chapter, which changes the tone of my main character.  There will also be some other major changes due to that overhaul but I am only thinking about those at this time.  However, what I have been thinking about is when do I describe certain things?

Since this is a fantasy work, I have created some of my own terms for certain things, as well as “created” a race.  I realized that I never truly describe the new race.  In fact, it didn’t occur to me until the second book when I was comparing my new race to dwarves.  I realize I have to go back and enter some kind of description in the first novel.

I want to keep the urgency in my book, which I have (hopefully) set up when my main character meets this other race.  At the same time, I need to interject his description so the readers know that he is a certain race.  I think that taking the one I used in my second novel will work, with some slight modifications, but I also don’t want an information dump, which might turn the reader off.  So at this point, it’s a balancing act of how much and when do I describe the race.

I guess the best thing to do is rewrite the scene and then work from there with what is important right away and what is not.

Would do you think is the best time to describe something?

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