There is some debate among writer types about verbs of utterance. Most people agree that you (and therefore, your characters) can shout or whisper your words. You can say them or scream them or roar them or sing them.
It's when an utterance is mixed with other types of oral
expression that things get hazy. There are those who maintain you don't
laugh or sigh or sob while speaking, only before or afterward. But I
maintain that the following are also verbs of utterance: sob, sigh,
laugh, chuckle, giggle, gasp, even burp. That while you can do these
things before or after you speak, you can also do them as you speak.
Examples, I have them:
"I can't find him," she sobbed. Here, the person is crying while she speaks: the tears are in her voice; she's struggling for breath; her words are unsteady.
"All right," she sighed.
In this example, the sigh is part of the words: a sigh is an
exhalation, and so are spoken words. A weary person agreeing to do yet
another chore is going to huff out those words while sighing.
"Okay," he laughed/chuckled.
Again, both laughter and speech involve exhalation; they can occur
simultaneously, with the word "okay" bubbling out, each syllable
affected (it might sound like, "oh-ho-ho-kaaay"). Similarly, it's my
opinion that, "Stop tickling me" is a sentence that can be giggled. In
the throes of being tickled, a person does not stop and utter the words,
then resume giggling.
"Oh, no," he gasped. I generally
associate gasps with indrawn breath, so this case is more difficult to
make. Yet I can hear it in my mind; can't you? A gasp as an utterance is
a sort of shocked whisper.
Finally, we can hardly deny burping
as a verb of utterance when there are people who can burp the alphabet,
or names of all the states, or whatever. I seem to recall some
burps-as-utterances in the movie Revenge of the Nerds.
doubt my contributions here will make it into official style manuals
anytime soon (especially the burping). Any copy editor who has ever laid
hands on my work* can tell you I am no proofreading expert, my Waterloo
being the correct use of commas in all situations.** But the nice
thing about having my own blog is that I can natter on, in my word
geekery, about any subject I choose. You're welcome!
* I would like to thank all the copy editors who have caught my mistakes and, in doing so, saved my bacon.
I have a theory, still unproven, that nobody except copy editors
understands all the correct ways to use commas. They might have a secret
Comma School in an underground bunker or something. Special handshakes
might be involved. But it's only a theory so far.