I'm trying to reach back into my memory and remember how to figure how many available electrons there are in the outer shell of an atom. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it went something like this:
following straight across, column #1 has 1 available electron for bonding, column #2 has 2 electrons in the outer shell, skip transition metals cause they're all different. Lets say the column starting with boron is column #3, so that would have 3 electrons in the outer shell, next column starting with carbon would have 4 electrons there, and so on until you hit noble gases which have all 8 electron spots filled up and therefore are inert.
I remember drawing pictures to visualize how atoms bond together and where the electrons are in relation to the bond, someone have any "beginner" pictures they can upload?