Martin Dellios (Timothy Hutton) is a newspaper columnist who deals with mobsters and assorted criminals. It's gritty reality and it sells. But mob boss Ricky Benzone (Chazz Palminteri) warns him to start thinking about the consequences of his printed words. But when Martin's writing talent is discovered by a Hollywood studio that wants to turn one of his gritty columns into a screenplay, Martin has second thoughts. The studio has chosen the one story he wished he never published, a story whose publication broke the heart of the woman who told it to him, a woman with whom he was romantically involved. Martin is torn between his past and the opportunity of a lifetime as he tries to discern if real life and fiction can ever possibly go together.