Jan, thanks for your encouragement to continue with this class.
I usually don't have trouble with exclamation points as I limit them to dialogue, though I found this in one of my challenge entries:
Gary was engrossed in his game and hadn’t noticed Jess’s presence until she grabbed the console out of his hands and threw it onto the sofa beside him.
“Hey…what… where’d you come from?”
“Shhh!” Jess whispered, “You’ll wake everybody!”
Gary was annoyed at the interruption. “Stupid girl!” he whispered as he fumbled for the game console.
I've got my teens "whispering" loudly - I think I would keep the EPs (but only because it is dialogue) and change "whispered" to "said".
Re - cliches, oops! I do appreciate your notes about this - I'm sure I overuse them [being Australian and all - we love 'em]. It's not only a lazy way of writing but I've just realized that cliches are so well used, people may already have a mental picture of the phrase, or worse may even gloss over it [thinking 'eyes blazing' here] and not get the picture you have in mind at all.
I'll have to watch this in future.