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Well, generally most atoms wants to follow the octet rule. It depends on the total number of valence electrons, because you got to make sure the central atom has its' octet, then you add the lone pairs to the outside atoms. If you realize that there isn't enough for the outside, then you create the shared bonds.
As long as each atom in a molecule has an octet, including lone pairs, that is how you figure it out. When trying to determine whether to draw a lone pair or to add another bond, calculate formal charge to see what is optimal (always aim for formal charge of 0 on each atom).
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