There's a simple equation for today's lesson: "Distance determines effort. The longer the distance between subject and verb, the harder your reader must work." MTC 1 italics added
You're right, the lesson is kind of a no-brainer. Readers won't get the meaning of your sentence until they make a subject-verb connection. They want/need to know who is doing something and what they're doing. Throw in all the fluff and puff you want (within reason), but it's the subject/verb that gives the meat...gives you something to sink your teeth into. [I could type out some very, extremely-lengthy examples, but I won't. Check out mastering the Craft's Lesson 18 and you'll find some.]
But as with any writing rule, RULES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN! EVEN THIS ONE! Consider that sometimes an INTENTIONAL delay works because it creates emphasis. Example: "The tall, skinny man, who had just polished off three double cheeseburgers, two large fries, and a super-sized soda, ordered another round." MTC 2
That's a whole lot of fast-food calories in between man and ordered, but the sentence works.
MTC, 1: p.97
MTC 2: p. 98
Tamara: And I thought I was the only one that included food pictures in my posts. I have no idea why this analogy popped into my head as I read your post, but I thought of couples ice skating in the Olympics, where they have strict rules about how far away from each other they can be. Maybe I need to start thinking of my verbs and subjects that way. Except for the allowable, dramatic moves of course!