Pet Peeve Warning: It is not – I repeat – NOT necessary to ever use the verb exclaim when you want to attribute a line of dialogue to a particular character. Why? Because the exclamation point you used at the end of the sentence is a pretty good indicator that the character is exclaiming something. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
“I heard you!” Johnson exclaimed.
The fix could go a number of different ways, but the only way to definitely screw that sentence up is to use the word “exclaimed.”
Remember this little rhyme as you write your novel:
It’s lame to exclaim!