Oh kill me now... I just found a wonderful new (to me) author. She writes engagingly, her characters are witty and charming, and there's a real plot to her novel.
I'm rubbing my hands, thrilled, already making plans to glom all this author's backlist asap.
Then it starts.
The heroine stops talking. She starts whispering. For page after endless page. Every interaction she has with the hero -- he's an alpha male of few words -- she whispers. Even when they're talking about the man who's trying to kill her. Whisper, whisper... And I'm done.
"Never use a verb other than 'said' to carry dialogue": Elmore Leonard
"Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue" is one of Elmore Leonard's ten rules of writing.
Depending on your story, of course you can use other dialog tags, occasionally. Very occasionally.
Your readers skip over "said"; it just lets them know who's talking. Your readers will not skip over other tags. If you use whisper, there had better be a reason, or you'll annoy your readers. Annoy them too often, and not only are they done with your book, they're done with everything else you'll ever write.
Whenever you're tempted to use a dialog tag like: shouted, exclaimed, snorted (another doozy -- no one snorts a sentence) -- don't. If you have a thesaurus, leave it alone. Emotion sells your fiction. Emotion never comes from dialog tags. As Elmore Leonard says, any tag other than "said" is just you, the author, muddying it up by giving stage directions.
Fiction is entertainment, so entertain
Readers read fiction to be taken out of their daily lives, and enter a new world you've created.
Use the words which come naturally. Let your characters talk. Their emotions should come through in their words. If they don't, it means that you're not feeling it, so the your characters can't, and all the whispering in the world won't help your readers to feel it either.
Learn the secrets of emotion, and much more, in Hot, Hotter, Hottest: Write Bestselling Kindle Romances.