I killed George Wickham!
In my story, Affectionate Hearts, George timed his elopement scheme better than in canon and took off for the border the day before Darcy arrived in Ramsgate to surprise Georgiana.
I had no problems offing Wickham since he is despised by almost everyone who ever read Pride and Prejudice. But I was in for a surprise when some readers expressed shock at the darkness of that chapter. (By the way, I never disclosed how it happened; I had his lover find his lifeless form. So yes, he was dead as a drowned rat, but I left the reader to form that conclusion.) Other readers expressed despair that the deed was done by one of their darlings, Colonel Fitzwilliam.
These comments made me regret taking that drastic step so I made a change to the next chapter and gave the Colonel pangs of regret for losing his head and taking such extreme measures. This led to even more complications, since he had been dropping hints all along the way north that George was a French spy, and a suspicious innkeeper had filed a report with the local constable. In canon, Darcy never said a word to anyone to protect Georgiana’s reputation.
And there is the biggest dilemma; saving Georgiana’s future. How could I allow the fair Georgiana to come to harm, just for the sake of an original storyline? It’s unconscionable!
Since this was only the first draft of the story, I decided to skip the murder mess in the final manuscript and have the Colonel use his good breeding and military training, (well maybe rough the louse up a little,) and turn him over to the constable. Seven years in prison and transportation to the penal colony for our despicable villain and his henchwoman! They deserved nothing less!
The real point of the story was to throw Darcy and Elizabeth together early and what better way than to send her to the Lake District with her aunt and uncle, which is conveniently, nice and close to the border! With the villain out of the way and a general fondness on both sides, it was simple to come to a happy ending for our dear couple.
But no, not so simple.