Why is my word count per page so high?

As far as I can tell, I have all the correct manuscript formatting - 12pt Times New Roman, double spaced, left aligned but I have an average of 340 words per page when the standard is 250. This is even for dialogue heavy pages. My document is 99,000 words which should equal over 400 pages when formatted like this but on Scrivener says only 305. Help! Im trying to fix plotting and formatting issues and really need it to show the correct word count and page count.

Where are you getting the page count from?

The Project → Statistics → Options tab allows you to define the number of words per page for goal setting purposes.

The Editor pane will use your current Page Setup settings to determine the page count, which will (if you’re in Page View) show in the Editor footer.

If you Compile and print the manuscript, the page count will depend on your Compile settings.

These three numbers are not necessarily the same.

Someone’s requested formatting, you mean. There is no “correct”.

What page width and height? What are the top, bottom, left, and right margins? The more space on the page, the more words will fit.

There is no official standard. It’s a rule of thumb.

I would double check your page settings to make sure you aren’t using something unusual, since page count estimates are going to be based on actual compiled output:

  1. Open File ▸ Compile... and double-click on the compile format you are using in the left sidebar to edit it.
  2. In the Page Settings format pane, Use project page settings should be disabled, and the Use default paper size setting enabled, with US Letter or A4 printed in grey text (anything else will likely produce different averages).
  3. If you had to change your settings, then click the Save button, hold down the Opt key on your keyboard, and click the Save button on the main compile window.
  4. Use Project ▸ Statistics again, and ensure that “Accurate (Slower)” is the method being used, along the bottom.

Lastly you can double-check Scrivener’s layout by compiling to RTF or DOCX, opening that in a word processor, and seeing how it paginates. There may be a small difference between the two, given differences in the layout engines, but it shouldn’t be close to a 100 pages off like you say.