An unfinished work is creative work that has not been finished. Its creator may have chosen never to finish it or may have been prevented from doing so by circumstances outside of their control such as death. Such pieces are often the subject of speculation as to what the finished piece would have been like; sometimes they are finished by others and released posthumously. Unfinished works have had profound influences on their genres and have inspired others in their own projects. The term can also refer to ongoing work which could eventually be finished and is distinguishable from "incomplete work", which can be a work that was finished but is no longer in its complete form.
There are many reasons for work not being completed. Works are usually stopped when their creator dies, although some, aware of their failing health, make sure that they set up the project for completion. If the work involves other people, such as a cast of actors or the subject of a portrait, it may be halted because of their unavailability. Projects that are too grandiose might never have been finished, while others should be feasible but their creator's continual unhappiness with them leads to abandonment.
Unfinished works by popular authors and artists may still be made public, sometimes in the state they were in when work was halted. Alternatively, another artist may finish the piece. In some fields work may appear unfinished but are actually finished, such as Donatello's "non finito" technique in sculpture.